"Come inside already, it's late!" my mother would scream out to me, as I'd be playing all day outside until the moon came up. Scratching the bug bites on my legs and sweat dripping down my face; I still wanted to be outside. Climbing trees, running in fields with the flowers up to my hips, playing man hunt with the neighborhood kids, diggin' up dirt for treasure. I had an imagination that allowed me to create my own world. Through that, I learned to be creative, imaginative, attentive and much more spiritually inclined at such an early age.
Believe it or not, they are real studies that show mental and physical benefits for young children and even adults who take time out to spent some time in nature. Honestly, truly.
Recent studies have exposed the benefit—even necessity—of spending time outdoors, both for kids and adults. Some argue that it can be any outdoor environment. Some claim it has to be a “green” environment—one with trees and leaves. Others still have shown that just a picture of greenery can benefit mental health. These nuances aside, most of the studies agree that kids who play outside are smarter, happier, more attentive, and less anxious than kids who spend more time indoors. While it’s unclear how exactly the cognitive functioning and mood improvements occur, there are a few things we do know about why nature is good for kids’ minds.
- It builds self esteem. 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 he treats nature means he has the power to control his 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 provides different stimulation. Nature may seem less stimulating than your son’s violent video game, (no tea, no shade) but in reality, it activates more senses—you can see, hear, smell, and touch outdoor environments. As the young spend less and less of their lives in natural surroundings, their senses narrow, 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. Your kid doesn’t have to be joining the local soccer team or riding a bike through the park—even a walk will get her 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 (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
- 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.
In conclusion, spending at least 20 minutes of outside is helpful in all aspects of life. Through depression, confusion, sickness and health. Nature enviroments benefits your life completely. Get your kids, nieces and nephews, aunties and uncles outside to move and groove and be free outside. It's beneficial, enjoyable and FREE.
Save those coins and spray on some bug spray. baby!