Child Naturism, the combination of nature and nudity, is controversial nowadays. The truth is, if left to their own devices, most children are child naturists at a young age, wanting to explore the natural world and their own bodies. Learn how to cultivate your child’s love of nature and sense of self from a young age - while also keeping your child safe.
For practical purposes we will talk about the two aspects of child naturism – love of nature and nudity both in combination and separately.
Back in our hunter-gatherer days no one thought twice about kids running around naked when it was hot outside. They didn’t have “bathing skins” that they changed into before jumping into the river. For thousands and thousands of years people didn’t have big houses with closed doors either. Privacy was minimal and children grew up knowing what other people looked like without clothes on.
Child naturism existed even in very cold areas of the world where sweat huts or other communal bathing practices were common. Everywhere, child naturists spent most of their time outside doing chores and exploring nature.
There is something to be said about being one with our environment. There is also something wonderful about watching your child run around without cloths on. If you doubt this, just watch any toddlers reaction to being able to run around stark naked without a diaper on.
My son loves this. He will toddle around smacking himself on the bottom with both hands. It feels so different without that big diaper on! Watch the expression of a child that falls onto his or her naked bottom on carpet. Eyes get wide, they pat the carpet. Sure feels different to sit down with no diaper on!
We have a ritual at our house which increases our children’s sense of self at the same time it makes our bedtime routine fun. If you have trouble getting your children to change out of their clothes for bedtime you should try it. We call it “Naked Time” .
This is how it works. Everyone runs upstairs and tears their clothes off, depositing everything in the hamper before running into the bathroom. We brush teeth, do pee-pees and wash hands quickly before the fun begins. Everyone runs into the bedroom shouting “Naked time, naked time”, that means it’s time to put the music on. They dance to all kinds of music. They run around, they spin, they bounce, they move their arms wildly.
Excited little voices yelling, “Look at me” and “Try this move” ring thru the air. Everyone from the two year old up thru the eight year old joins in. Mom and dad dance too - even though we aren’t naked. We still have chores to do after the kids go to sleep! Best yet, it is just a matter of getting jammies on before we ramp everyone down with a nice story and everyone goes to sleep.
One great way we have found to raise our children’s awareness of and gain control over their bodily functions is to let them run around naked while we are playing in our back yard. It is hysterical to watch a child’s reaction to their first pee-pee without their diaper on. Eyes grow wide. They look down to see the pee-pee coming out. They touch the pee-pee on their leg or on the ground. They look up and excitedly say, “Mommy, pee-pee!” while gesticulating wildly at their little puddle or the wet grass.
By really feeling it as well as watching it exit their body, it is much easier for them to anticipate it coming. Soon your naked little girls will stop whatever they are doing before squatting to pee-pee. You may even see little boys standing and holding their penis’s (pretending to be daddy).
Finally, instead of just reacting and going pee-pee wherever they are, you will see them run over to a tree or some soft grass where the pee-pee doesn’t splatter on them to take care of business. Voila! Now it is very easy to get them to do the same thing inside and run over to the potty to take care of business.
When we go on camping trips out in the middle of nowhere, our kids turn into complete child naturists -with our blessing. They will run around and explore naked in between taking off their jammies and putting on their clothes for the day. They swim naked in isolated lakes and rivers. No wet bathing suits to worry about! No one hiking to a remote mountain lake thinks twice about skinny dipping when they get there. Who wants to lug a towel and wet bathing suit around, especially at high altitude!
They key is to pick remote places to camp. Your local KOA is not a good choice. It will be packed with people! It is much harder to find beautiful and remote places without other people around than it was when I was a kid, but it’s still possible.
Who wants to be packed in like a sardine with a bunch of other people when you are on vacation anyway? You might as well sign up for a cruise boat vacation. I smile as I type because I’d rather have all my finger and toenails pulled out than spend time trapped with a zillion other people on one of those monstrosities. I’m not sure what the formal term for crowd aversion is but I defiantly have it!
Our favorite kid activities that include both nature and running around naked include; running thru the sprinklers in the back yard on a hot day. The kids also love playing in the water naked whether it is a friend’s pool or the creek that runs thru our back yard. Do you have a favorite child naturism activity? Tell us about it HERE!
The last activity that they routinely ask to do naked is play in the sandbox. Sand feels interesting on their skin. They love frosting their legs with it or burying each other in the huge sandbox we have. Recently the older kids found a great way to keep the baby from destroying their sand castle. They buried her (with her complete cooperation) in the sand and build the sand castle all around her.
I came outside wondering where my two year old was and found him grinning from ear to ear with just his head sticking out of the sand in the middle of a massive sand castle. Not only was I amazed he had stayed still for long enough to build the monster, but the older kids had gone to lengths to ensure that no sand got in the little guys eyes.
A neighbor was initially horrified that I let my kids play naked in the sandbox saying, “But your daughter will get sand up in her private parts!” I just laughed and replied, “So your daughter doesn’t get sand up in her private parts when she plays in the sand in her bathing suit?” She thought about that for a minute and then we both laughed. Sand gets everywhere regardless of what you are wearing! At least when kids play in the sand naked, they track less of it back into the house because it isn’t stuck in every nook and cranny of their clothes.
Cleaning naked kids is much easier than cleaning clothed kids. If we have been playing in the mud or in the sand, the kids know they have to rinse off in our outdoor shower before coming inside. There are no dirty clothes to deal with!
A lot of the activities we do that encourage our children to interact with nature are impractical to do naked. Climbing a tree is a good example of this. It would be too painful to do naked! Certain times of year hanging out at the creek naked are no good either because the kids would get eaten alive by mosquitoes!
Ditto with trips to the woods. When we go hiking, practical considerations like sun protection, bug bite prevention and protection from scrapes prevent the kids from asking to run around naked. If we were alone in the woods in an areas where it was unlikely we would run into others, I’d be happy to let them run around naked for a while, but they have never shown any interest. They have never show any interest in taking off their clothes while at a local farm to visiting the animals – not that we would let them if they did.
We sometimes get requests to go skinny dipping when we are at the local lake, but for skin protection as well as child protection reasons, we haven’t let them ditch their swim suits there. For lots more ideas of activities that will build your child’s appreciation of nature read Toddler Activities.
You may have noticed that I let my children play naked in the sandbox in our private yard, but didn’t mention letting them play naked at the beach. Here’s the issue… I don’t want to be encouraging child pedophiles. I’m sure that the majority of adults would look on for the joy of seeing children having fun. However with the warped values our media-rich society promotes, I don’t feel comfortable putting my child at risk this way.
While my husband and I are comfortable with our children running around and swimming naked with their little friends while we parents supervise, we don’t feel comfortable letting them do so in public where people might look at them inappropriately.
Yes, we know that there is always the risk of child molestation from someone that we know, but that person already knows us and we can keep an eye on things. It isn’t like we are putting our children at risk from strangers who fixate on them solely because they see them naked.
Regardless of whether or not people see you kids naked, as a parent today you need to make sure your children are supervised all of the time. Our kids are never left alone with people that we don’t trust implicitly. Additionally, we leverage our children’s confident sense of self to encourage open lines of communication.
We would love your opinions about Child Naturism. What activities do you let your children do naked? How do you encourage their love of nature? We would love to hear your stories!
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