6 ways being outdoors boosts kids’ development
Studies reveal a connection between kids’ well being and the time they spend in nature.
Here are the top six ways that being outside fosters kids’ social, emotional, cognitive and physical development.
Playing in nature builds problem-solving skills.
When kids engage in unstructured play in nature, they improvise, make decisions, work as a group, and learn to resolve conflicts creatively. Those sticks and stones and mud puddles are actually building critical thinking skills and social competence by making kids engage as a community.
Being outdoors reduces stress.
In America, 90% of children surveyed reported that being outdoors left them feeling “less stressed.” Kids with reduced stress levels are more resilient and more able to regulate their emotions.
Nature sparks kids’ interest (and grades) in science.
The average American child spends 44 hours per week (more than 6 hours a day!) staring at some kind of electronic screen, yet outdoor science programs which stress hands-on science learning and the connections between the real world and basic science concepts improve students’ overall science testing scores by 27%.
Nature makes kids high performance learners and high scorers on tests.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, time spent outdoors leads to improved classroom behavior, increased student motivation, better performance in math, science, reading and social studies, reduced Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and higher scores on standardized tests—including college entrance exams.
Being outside and staying active reduces kids' risk for obesity.
The CDC reports that childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years and the CDC believes a major component is lowered rates of physical activity in children.
Nature means sunlight and sunlight means more Vitamin D.
We get Vitamin D from food and from sunlight, and it’s key for the absorption of key nutrients, including the calcium and phosphorus that helps kids build bones, teeth, and immunity. We’re all getting less Vitamin D these days thanks to office jobs, urban living, and sunscreen, but getting out in the sunshine naturally supplies the Vitamin D needed to grow a healthy body.