The benefits of connecting children with nature

Monday, March 13, 2017

Since becoming a parent, I’ve noticed that when Lottie is spending time in nature she’s happier, more relaxed, laughs more, acts more independently and her little imagination goes wild with the types of things she decides to do.
There is a growing body of research that backs up these observations and clearly demonstrates the benefits of being outdoors in nature. In fact, research indicates that unstructured, outdoor play in nature is fundamental to childhood and that it is as important to little ones as food and sleep!
Since Lottie was only a newborn we’ve made it a priority for her to spend time in nature, whether that’s hiking with her, exploring ancient rainforests, spending time playing in sand at the beach or just exploring neighborhood parks and recreation areas.

Here are just some of the many benefits that time spent in nature provides: 
  • It creates a source of independence and inner strength. For children, the sense of freedom experienced during the unstructured play that occurs in nature creates a source of independence and inner strength that can be drawn on during stressful situations for the rest of their lives.
  • It supports creativity and problem solving. As children observe, reflect, record and share nature’s patterns and rhythms, they are also participating in a process that promotes scientific and ecological awareness, problem solving and creativity.
  • It enhances cognitive abilities. Proximity to, views of, and daily exposure to natural settings increases children’s ability to focus and enhances cognitive abilities.
  • It improves eyesight. More time spent outdoors has been proven to improve eyesight.
  • It’s great for socialization. Outdoor play with other little ones promotes learning about social skills such as turn-taking, sharing, negotiation and leadership
  • It increases physical activity. Research shows that children improve their health and levels of physical activity when they spend time outdoors and in nature. A recent Swedish study demonstrated that children who are able to play in natural environments in kindergartens have less illness and better physical ability than those who play in human-designed environments and playgrounds.
  • It provides a means for children to learn without being taught.
  • It develops risk taking skills. Children are more likely to develop responsible attitudes toward risk if they have experience dealing with risky situations.
There are so many ways you can spend time in nature, why not make it a priority to do so next weeend. You'll be guaranteed to have fun and your children witll develop a positive relationship with the enviornment an the special outdoor places you take them to.

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