Connecting Kids with Nature
Skip the television and enjoy the great outdoors!
Seventy-four percent of UK children spend less time outdoor than inmates in prison, according to a 2013 survey by RSPB. In fact, less than one in 10 children regularly played in natural spaces, compared to half of the children two decades ago. Most parents have childhood memories of playing with sticks, jumping into a cool lake, and watching the activities of ants for hours on end. However, it turns out that time spent playing in local parks, backyards, and fields has diminished due to the lack of safe green spaces, community fears, and the rise of digital technology.
Experts warn that active play is vital to the overall development of children. Not to mention - getting children back outside is more important than ever – as spending time in nature at a young age is critical to fostering a healthy ethic of conservation for the next generation. Here’s why kids should connect with nature, skip the television, and enjoy the great outdoors.
Build Strong Family Bonds
Spending time as a family is a great opportunity to learn more about each other, build relationships, and a chance to teach children new things. When kids have the chance to experience new hobbies like camping in the woods, they’ll have positive memories for the years to come. In return, they will continue the cycle for their children and the next.
Provide Various Stimulation
While nature may seem less stimulating than your child’s video games or iPad, it activates the senses of sight, hearing, smell and touch. Kids will experience new surroundings, hearing the sounds of wildlife, smelling new aromas, and touching the natural earth. Without a connection to nature, this will reduce the ultimate human experience.
Boosts Both Brain & Physical Activity
Most ways of interacting with nature require physical exercise as even a walk through the park will get their blood pumping and sweat levels rising. Not only is exercise great for their bodies’ development, it also helps children with ADHD to focus on one experience at a time. In addition, natural environments require an effortless type of attention known as a soft fascination to create feelings of pleasure, according to the Attention Restoration Theory.
So, while the iPads, smartphones, and televisions are the most accessible to children, it’s up to us to set aside time for playing outside. Not only does it give children a chance to explore the great outdoors, it also allows families to grow bonds that cannot be disturbed by the blue screen.