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Over the past decade or so, technology has become more accessible. Children start to use smart devices at younger and younger ages.
The days of spending as much time as possible outdoors, running around with a friend, playing ball or riding bikes seems to have almost disappeared.
As well as the attractions of the digital world, children are kept indoors by parents concerned about safety. More families are living in houses with little or no yard or access to wild places. But children need to spend time outdoors.
It might surprise you that there are many reasons for kids to spend more time out connecting with nature, and they’re not all physical! Here are some of the best ideas to send the kids outside to play.
1. Creativity and imagination
Many studies have shown that children’s games are more creative in green spaces than in concrete playgrounds.
A critical survey of 300 geniuses found a common theme of immersion in the natural world between the ages of five and 12.
Children playing in nature tend to have more unstructured games, based on fantasy and narrative. They learn to be more inventive in making up stories and have more meaningful interaction with their surroundings.
This type of play also builds confidence as the child makes choices and tests hypotheses about the natural world.
Being in nature prompts children to ask questions, to wonder why the world is as it is, and to want to know more. Having a direct experience of being in the natural world gives children a different perspective.
They can learn to observe, notice and deduce and interact, rather than be the passive recipients of entertainment and information through a screen.
3. Better Physical and Mental Health
It’s not surprising that running around and playing out of doors reduces the risk of children’s obesity, asthma, and rickets.
It’s also good for cardio-respiratory health and reduces the symptoms of ADHD. Studies have shown that playing indoors or on hard surfaces like tarmac increases ADHD and other behavioral issues.
Outdoor play also reduces stress and fatigue levels. That is partly because natural environments encourage a different type of attention to the world.
The information your brain is receiving in nature is softer and gentler than the stimulus of noisier, more demanding urban environments.
It’s easy to forget that our children experience stress daily, just as adults do. Encouraging our children to connect with the natural world will provide them with an outlet for their tension for their entire lives.