We think for all of us living in the beautiful Colorado the therapeutic value of outdoors is a self-evident truth. Even a short hike or a picnic in the mountains leaves us feeling rested and relaxed and rejuvenated.
Our children, who aren’t yet tied to their offices, computers, work desks and cars, have no reason to spend their days in any environment other than the beautiful outdoors that is so nourishing.
Yet in today’s urban societies children are found spending more and more time indoors. Most daycare centers are located in the city limits and offer small enclosed playgrounds that are mostly bare of any vegetation and living things. Cities are built in such a way that children have very little freedom to explore the world outside their home or school or parent’s car out of concerns for their safety.
Children also have little opportunities to move freely – to climb things, get into puddles, play with mud, and even less to watch trees grow, creeks flow, birds fly and flowers bloom.
The current trends of keeping children indoors focused on academics and other indoor activities lead to:
- Allergies (indoor air is routinely found to contain a lot of harmful chemicals)
- Less robust health overall
- Luck of confidence
- Children are either under-stimulated in their development or over-stimulated with various gadgets and mechanical toys that beep, flash, pop and so on.
- Various adverse mental conditions such as anxiety, irritability and alike.
Here at the Children & Nature website you can find many studies supporting the claims of the tremendous benefits of the outdoor time in real nature to children’s physical, emotional and mental health. Here we included two of the infographics kindly provided by Children & Nature showing in visual ways many benefits with references to studies.
In closing we wanted to share this blog post from the Simply Charlotte Mason website talking more about the benefits of nature study and this great TED Talk on the subject of forest schooling.