Earlier this year I published an article titled “Connecting Kids With Nature“, which lamented the fact that so many children these days have little in the way of natural experiences; or the experiences they do have are too involved with technology or noisy, environmentally destructive pursuits.
A recent report from Planet Ark goes into detail regarding the many benefits of immersing kids in nature. These benefits go beyond just the physical health aspect and gaining appreciation of our environment.
Some of the many points mentioned:
– A study found stress levels were lowered in children who lived close to natural areas.
– Children with higher levels of nearby nature had a higher sense of self-worth.
– Contact with nature provides learning opportunities and can improve academic achievement.
– Children with ADHD and ADD concentrate, complete tasks and follow directions better after they play outside in green settings.
– Children with ADHD concentrate better after a 20-minute walk in a park compared to after a 20-minute walk in a well-kept urban setting.
– A study carried out in Florida found environment-based education increased critical thinking skills in high school students.
– Children in areas with trees and vegetation tend to be more creative in social play than children in more barren, hard-surfaced or built play areas.
– More active contact with nature can provide children with calming and stabilising memories that they can draw on during stressful periods later in life.
This last point mentioned was a real “yes!” moment for me. So many times when I’ve been in a stressful situation as an adult, my mind has retreated not to times of playing video games as a kid, but being out in nature. At times, I think it’s the only thing that kept me sane.
The report also covers the physical benefits observed in children who have a strong connection and experiences with nature.
You can download the full report – Planting Trees: Just What the Doctor Ordered – here.