___ Step away from the Wii console, put down the MP3 player you paid too much money for, and don’t waste another half hour watching a TV playing nothing but reruns for the next three months. Instead, get up and get out. Into nature, that is.
This summer is a chance for you to get back in touch with your environment. Rather than continue to isolate ourselves from the natural world, use this great weather to reconnect with it. Here are a few ways we recommend you do that:
Hiking is a great way to reconnect with nature. You get to enjoy the scenery, immerse yourself into the surroundings, and get plenty of great exercise. All you need is some comfortable shoes (and maybe some mosquito repellent!). If hiking isn’t your thing, try simply walking, either in the park or even your neighborhood.
2. Horseback riding
If you want to try something out of the ordinary this summer, visit the stables! There’s almost no better way to explore the outdoors and get back in touch with nature. In fact, horseback riding is one of three sports the Prophet Muhammad urged parents to teach their children (swimming and archery were the other two—activities that are also great for this summer). Most stables offer beginner and advanced classes, for both children and adults, so this is an activity the whole family can enjoy.
3. The zoo
Sometimes getting back in touch with nature means getting closer to your fellow animals. Teach the kiddies (and yourself) a little more about God’s creatures at your local zoo, and learn all you can about how these animals survive and live in the wild. Take advantage of the zoo’s free or inexpensive educational programs and exciting events.
4. Botanical gardens
Enjoy the effortless beauty and wonder at your local botanical gardens. Arboretums are dedicated to building an appreciation for plants and their role in sustaining the Earth’s ecosystem and our quality of life. If you live in the city, take advantage of the unique plant collection and relaxing atmosphere of the local botanical gardens.
5. Starting a garden
Need a project this summer? How about starting a garden? Whether it’s flower, herb or vegetable, you can plug back into the natural world with your very own garden. You can set it up in your yard, or even just a few small pots at your windowsill (which will keep your garden growing even in the wintertime). If done right, you can save a fortune on buying flowers, seasonings or veggies! Or if you’ve always wanted a rose bush or apple tree, there’s no better time than now to plant it.
Ahhh, camping. Anyone who ever wanted to get back in touch with nature knows that one great way to do it is by roughing it outdoors. Gather your family or a few friends, grab a sleeping bag, and enjoy making s’mores and chatting by a campfire in a nearby park reserve.
7. Visit the lake
Or any nearby body of water. There’s something calming to the soul when we spend time gazing out at the horizon, listening to the waves splash against the shore. You can walk in quiet reflection or explore the shore for marine plants, small wildlife and natural formations. If more adrenalin-pumping activities are your preference, you could always try boating, canoeing, rafting, swimming, or jet skiing. The options are endless. Whether you want to just stand by the seashore or get more active, visiting the lake is a favorite way to get back in touch with nature.