Getting young people to spend time outdoors can be a tough challenge for many parents. With the rise of video games, social media, and online streaming services, it’s easier than ever to avoid outdoor activities.
However, you don’t have to go to great lengths to get your children out into nature. The benefits that being outside bring to kids are so vast that it should be a top priority for every parent and educator.
Nature is good for you. This isn’t just a pleasant idea, but a science-backed fact. Time in nature has been shown to have positive effects on human psychology and physiology. Let’s explore the benefits of spending time in nature for young people and how you can help them get outside more often.
Boosts mental well-being
Mental well-being is the state of feeling happy and healthy in your own skin. It’s the idea that you have a sense of purpose and can live a satisfying and meaningful life. Mental well-being has been linked to both mental and physical health.
It’s believed that having a positive mental well-being can help prevent depression, anxiety, and the deterioration of cognitive function as we age. Nature has been shown to have a good effect on mental well-being for both young people and older generations. This isn’t just because it is pretty to look at, it changes the way our brain operates.
The main reason behind this is that nature is full of things that stimulate our senses. It is full of sounds, smells, sights, and textures that create a change in our brain function. This means that when we are in an outdoor setting, our attention is more evenly distributed. This can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and improve mood.
Helps with stress and anxiety
Stress is a normal physiological and psychological response to both positive and negative events. Stress is our body’s way of preparing us to react to a threat or challenge. It prepares us to take action and overcome the situation. When stress is not managed or controlled, it can cause both physical and mental health issues.
Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. It is believed that this is because nature can reduce our self centeredness and increase awareness of our surroundings. This means that when we are in nature, we are less focused on our own thoughts.
Fosters Emotional Growth and Development
Research shows the emotions of kids who spend time in natural settings are much more balanced than those who live their lives indoors. They feel calmer, more content, and more at home in their bodies. They are better able to process their emotions, and they are more likely to think before they act.
Children who spend time in nature are less likely to get into fights with other kids and more likely to help others. It allows them to feel empathy for others, and be able to put themselves in another person’s shoes.
They are less likely to lose their temper, able to calm themselves down more easily, and more likely to solve problems and work through their emotions.
Encourages Physical Activity
Kids are naturally active, but when their activity is confined indoors, many are either hyperactive or lethargic–neither of which is good. Kids who are excessively active physically and verbally can often be disruptive and hard to control. They are often loud, excitable, and impulsive. And while these are just normal childhood traits, it is beneficial to find activities that help to channel or direct them in a positive way.
Kids who are either lethargic or hyperactive may benefit from exercising outdoors. It allows them to be active while experiencing the wonders of the world around them. They can be active but also be in a quiet, calm, and tranquil environment.
Nature allows kids to explore freely and without fear of getting themselves into trouble. They can run and jump without being confined to a small space, and are encouraged to “get their hands dirty” while exploring their surroundings.
Improves Attention Span and Focus
Kids who spend time in nature can focus their attention for longer periods. They are able to sit still longer, and they can tune out external distractions better. Kids who play outside are less likely to be distracted by the world around them and to be drawn to their phones or televisions.
Young people with exposure to nature learn to tune out these noises more easily. They are better able to quiet their minds and can focus their attention on what they are doing and what is around them. They are more likely to be curious and exploratory as well as more likely to ask questions and to want to learn.
Getting kids out of the house and into nature is a great way to encourage physical activity and provides an opportunity to engage in creative play while being exposed to new things. Kids can play outside in the dirt, use sidewalk chalk, play with sand and water, walk barefoot, look for bugs, create forts or tree houses, or just simply sit and enjoy the view.
If you want to engage your kids in natural environments and take advantage of all the health benefits it offers, we have the solution for you!
Here at Positive Adventures, we offer 18 weeks of camp all year round. In our outdoor camps, the campers experience a new adventure each day. We have a variety of activities, from snorkeling to hikes! You can learn more about our camps here.
Outdoor learning is also a great way to encourage young people to spend time out in nature. If you are interested in providing meaningful outdoor learning experiences for your kids, check out our outdoor education programs.
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