Research has shown that the simple act of being outdoors can help children with concentration and learning. So why aren’t kids outside more?
“New research by The Countryside Alliance Foundation (TCAF) shows a strong demand for outdoor learning amongst parents, with 91 per cent wanting the countryside to play a greater role in their children’s education and 92 per cent thinking that their child would benefit from being given hands-on tuition in the countryside. Interestingly, these very same parents also tell us that they believe that one of the biggest barriers to getting children out of the classroom is the red-tape and health and safety fears.
“The benefits can be immense. Outdoor education helps children gain a practical understanding of the world around them; builds self confidence; tests their abilities; enables them to take managed risks: and develops a sense of responsibility and tolerance towards places and people.
“Outdoor learning can also help children and young people understand subjects like maths or science through real world examples and first-hand experience. While academic achievement is important, outdoor education can play a significant role helping pupils develop soft skills like good communication, team work and leadership; all of which are essential to the well-rounded education that is vital for life beyond the classroom.”
Looking for help in figuring out ways to get your kids outside? Look no farther. The National Wildlife Federation has a great resource in their Be Out There program.
Head over there and take a look – you’re sure to find at least a few helpful tidbits of wisdom.
Remember how it was when we were kids? Mom kicked us out of the house and made us go out and play in the sunshine.Somehow, she knew it was good for us.
Now, research has actually proven that. Many studies have shown a direct link between time in the great outdoors and increased obesity, depression, stress, diabetes, ADD and poor performance in the classroom. Now, they’ve found a correlation to sleeping.
“To get a good night’s sleep they need natural sleep-inducing light during the day, the soothing effects of more natural, outdoor scenes and enhanced exercise from outdoor play.”
Hmmm… I think it’s time to go outside and play.
Looking for something to watch? How about “Mother Nature’s Child: Growing Outdoors in the Media Age”? This documentary demonstrates that nature is an essential part of the learning process.
“The documentary makes note that children who are allowed to play in a natural setting are far more likely to invent their own games and make connections.”
Playdates are replacing free child’s play in the USA and it’s having detrimental effects on our children’s development.
“Since the 1970s, kids have lost an average nine hours of free playtime a week. Kids are getting less free time outside. And when kids are given recreational activities, they are likely to be adult-led and supervised.”
Children learn important skills – social, emotional, and physical on the playground, but that time is being eliminated from their lives.
“The rise in childhood obesity coincides with the drop in outdoor playtime. Playgrounds challenge small bodies and helps kids develop gross motor skills.”
“Play is part of our DNA. It’s directly connected to brain development. Play absolutely alchemizes learning, rather than hampers it.”
If you ever need any information on the effects of getting kids outside and active, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has it! In their Every Child Outdoors document they’ve got just about every study ever done.
Our Every Child Outdoors research – summarized in this document – draws together the findings from the wide range of research that has been carried out into the positive impacts that contact with nature has on children, as well as on the environment. It also explores some of the consequences of the loss of such experiences and, sadly, the increasingly used term of Nature Deficit Disorder to describe the phenomenon.