As the young spend less and less of their lives in natural surroundings, their senses narrow, and this reduces the richness of human experience.
By Ivy Maloy
Recent studies have exposed the benefit of spending time outdoors for children. Some claim it as to be a ‘green’ environment while, one with trees and leaves while others still have shown that just a picture of greenery can benefit mental health.
Most studies agree that children who play outside are smarter, happier, more attentive, and less anxious than children who spend more time indoors. While it is unclear how exactly the cognitive functioning and mood improvements occur, there are a few things that show us nature is good for children’s minds.
- It builds confidence
The way that kids play in nature has a lot less structure than most types of indoor play. There are infinite ways to interact with outdoor environments, from the backyard to the park to the local hiking trail or lake, and letting your child choose how they treat nature means they have the power to control their own actions.
- It promotes creativity and imagination
This unstructured style of play also allows kids to interact meaningfully with their surroundings. They can think more freely, design their own activities, and approach the world in inventive ways.
- It teaches responsibility
Living things die if mistreated or not taken care of properly, and entrusting a child to take care of the living parts of their environment means they’ll learn what happens when they forget to water a plant, or pull a flower out by its roots. It teaches them valuable lessons.
- It provides different stimulation
Nature may seem less stimulating than your child’s violent video game, but in reality, it activates more senses, you can see, hear, smell, and touch outdoor environments. As children spend less and less of their lives in natural surroundings, their senses narrow, and this reduces the richness of human experience.
- It gets kids moving
Most ways of interacting with nature involve more exercise than sitting on the couch. Children do not have to be joining the local soccer team or riding a bike through the park, even a walk will get their blood pumping. Not only is exercise good for kids’ bodies, but it seems to make them more focused, which is especially beneficial for kids with ADHD.
- It makes them think
nature creates a unique sense of wonder for kids that no other environment can provide. The phenomena that occur naturally in backyards and parks everyday make kids ask questions about the earth and the life that it supports.
- It reduces stress and fatigue
According to the Attention Restoration Theory, urban environments require what’s called directed attention, which forces us to ignore distractions and exhausts our brains. In natural environments, we practice an effortless type of attention known as soft fascination that creates feelings of pleasure, not fatigue.
So while screen time is the easier, more popular choice, it’s important to set aside time for outdoor play. For fun, stimulating activities that parents can enjoy with their children which will help them bond and be united as a family. There is an urgency to kid’s lack of outdoor play. Parents should encourage and even join their kids in outdoor activities and show them how important spending time in nature is.