Both of my children spend a lot of time outdoors but Matilda was born here and being a younger sibling she has been out with big brother and the dog pretty much since a week old.
Today whilst outside she picked up some leaves and told me she was going to make a puppet show. Totally her idea, totally her creations. I just observed as she picked leaves, flowers and sticks and put them together to make ‘puppets’. When created she crawled under the trampoline and held them up on the edge of the trampoline to perform her puppet show.
With this in mind I wanted to write a few points on why I feel it is so important for children to be outside, surrounded by nature. It’s becoming more and more of a passion to me, something I’m determined to encourage through my work in school and I want to write about it more and share ideas.
Nature brings the best out of children
It’s estimated that children today spend 56 per cent more time indoors than playing outside.
In theory, playing indoors appears easy because we don’t have to worry about sun, snow, rain, strangers, etc. But this controlled environment limits a child’s potential. The benefits of playing in nature are almost infinite. Spending time in nature keeps children’s minds fresh. It exposes them to varying situations where they are forced to learn and adapt to best fit themselves into the prevailing conditions. For instance, playing in uneven heights, conditions and surfaces helps children to hone their coordination and balancing skills.
Stops the vanishing freedom
In today’s age and time, it’s easy for parents to dwell on thoughts of dangers and the risks of outdoor play. In fact, more children get seriously injured falling from their bed than playing outdoors. It’s worth reflecting on the impact that is being passed on to children if parents fear the outdoors. Childhood should be filled with healthy outdoor risks and adventure.
Physical and mental benefits
So I think it’s all about balancing and making things work for you as a parent. The outdoor environments that we see on television can be far different in the real world. So, the only way to truly experience nature to the fullest is to step outside—from the singing birds, buzzing bees, the taste of wild berries and beautiful sunsets, to the other quieter miracles. No electronic device can replace the natural association with Mother Nature but that’s not to say if needed the iPad and television will of course go on.
Improves self confidence
Nature can act as a great healing tool for children who suffer from low self-esteem. Children who are exposed to the natural world experience a greater degree of self-control, peace and discipline. Armed with such gifts, a person’s confidence level is sure to elevate to the next level.
The health benefits
It’s obvious really but being outside, fresh air, running around, climbing trees, not only help with physical benefits but with mental benefits too. Anxiety is a massive issues with children, if we can get them out for even 30 minutes a days then I strongly believe it can help.