- Time spent in nature for children leads to them growing up into responsible environmental stewards, thereby contributing to the planet’s conservation.
- Outdoor activities can be done in nearby spaces like parks, school playgrounds, or backyards, and it’s advisable to keep note of weather-appropriate clothing and maintaining hand hygiene.
- Outdoor play fosters motor development in children and reduces the risk of obesity and nearsightedness while increasing vitamin D production.
- Nature stimulates children’s curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking abilities, enhancing their learning capabilities.
- Spending time in natural surroundings can reduce anger and aggression in children, improve focus, and minimize symptoms related to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Outdoor activities are vital for children’s growth and development. This is even more pertinent on the annually observed day of outdoor fondness, called Kids to Parks Day.
The Power of Time Spent in Nature
Despite the existing circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still considered safe and beneficial for children to explore the outdoors, according to pediatrician Dr. Danette Glassy. She further emphasized that children who consistently engage with nature, tend to grow up into responsible environmental stewards, thereby contributing to the planet’s conservation.
Exploring Nearby Outdoor Spaces
The beauty of outdoor exploration is that you don’t need to travel far to do it. Nearby parks, school playgrounds, or even your own backyard can offer ample opportunities for children to enjoy nature. Dr. Pooja Tandon, a pediatrician from Seattle, advises parents to leverage the outdoors for child play. She also offered a practical reminder about clothing suitable for weather conditions and the importance of maintaining hand hygiene.
The Health and Developmental Benefits of Outdoor Play
Outdoor play not only fosters motor development in children, but it can also significantly mitigate the risk of obesity and nearsightedness, states an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) report. Notably, some exposure to sunlight can enhance the body’s production of vitamin D, which is instrumental for maintaining optimal health.
Boosting Creativity and Critical Thinking
Being in the midst of nature is known to stimulate children’s curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking abilities. Furthermore, children that regularly interact with their natural surroundings reportedly fare better in their learning capabilities.
Fostering Mental Health
One of the most noteworthy benefits of children spending time in natural surroundings is the drastic reduction of anger and aggression. The tranquility of such settings can improve their focus and minimize symptoms related to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder says an AAP group.
Creating Lifelong Affinity for Nature from Early Childhood
Introducing infants to the outdoors at a young age may cultivate a long-term love for nature, according to AAP. Whether it’s placing them in strollers for an exploratory walk amidst trees or letting them revel in the wind, sounds and smells of nature, they are bound to enjoy these experiences. Possibilities for teaching new words and stimulating all their senses are also abundant when you take young kids outside for exploratory conversations.
Fun and Learning Don’t Need Great Distances
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to walk miles to derive benefits from nature. Outdoor reading or creating nature sculptures with twigs, leaves, and play dough are creative ways of engaging their imagination. Similarly, allowing them to play in the dirt with old kitchen utensils can significantly develop their senses and motor abilities.
Outdoor Adventures for Older Kids and Teens
Older children and teens too can benefit from outdoor activities as a medium of bonding. Carrying a soccer ball or frisbee for a fun game, followed by a picnic meal with family or friends, can be a refreshing break that also promotes their mental and physical health.
For additional insights on the significance of family time spent outdoors, visit the Children & Nature Network.