In a world full of technology and devices, we often find ourselves and our children inside, glued to their phones, tablets, or any other type of screen. While your kids may enjoy this type of enjoyment, there are many benefits of nature play that may be forgotten.
Think of those moments where you have stepped outside, breathed in a lungful of crisp air, smelled the fresh scents drifting through the air, and felt the breeze on your skin. It’s not hard to imagine why being outside can have some positive health benefits for everyone.
Spending time outside is necessary for children, especially during their developmental years when they are developing essential skills and outlooks on life. Once you see the changes in your children, you will not doubt the necessity to include play and nature in your child’s schedule.
Encouraging your children to enjoy time outdoors each day will give them a completely different outlook on life, equip them with necessary lifelong skills, and provide them with several health benefits.
Benefits of Nature Play for Children
Your children won’t only enjoy the fun of playing outside, they will also experience the health, educational, and developmental benefits of the fresh air and natural elements around them.
Stronger Immune System
Sunlight provides vitamin D, which is essential for building up our immune systems. The more sunlight your child is exposed to, the stronger their body will be at fighting off illnesses. But don’t forget to put sunscreen on!
Giving your child the freedom to play in an unstructured setting will encourage them to think of creative ways to have fun. This new setting will also help them become more imaginative as they start to see the world differently.
Enhances Education and Improves Cognitive Functioning
The enhanced learning and cognitive functioning promoted by the outdoors is linked to improved creativity and imagination when children play outside.
Children are exposed to a more stimulating environment in nature where all their senses are enticed by the sights, sounds, smells, and textures the outdoors provide. This increased stimulation helps strengthen the brain’s functioning.
Strengthens Mental Health
A study showed that children who gre up with natural surrondings are 55% less likely to develop a mental disorder in adulthood
This could be due to the constant stimulation of their surroundings as well as the increased physical activity. These both lead to increased levels of dopamine and serotonin—the “feel-good” hormones.
Improves Physical Health
Daily exercise is important for your child’s physical health, and giving them the space to play outside allows them to partake in active play.
This is a great exercise activity for your child and can help with other skills like hand-eye coordination if they are playing with a ball.
Inspiration for Nature Play
If your children are not used to playing outside, you could have some difficulty encouraging them to move to the outdoors and play with natural elements. There are a few ways you can make this process easier.
- Include a few outside activities in their chores like watering the plants or weeding.
- Set up playdates at the park or in other natural settings instead of at home.
- Organise more family outings outside on weekends.
- Play games outdoors such as hide and seek.
- Enjoy meals outdoors or schedule picnics with the family.
Even when you are stuck indoors due to bad weather or if you don’t have access to outdoor spaces, you can try out some of our products to stimulate similar sensors to nature.
Nature Play FAQs
What is nature-based learning?
Nature-based learning is a form of teaching children to use things in the natural environment. It takes place outside and includes elements of nature such as animals, plants, and water to teach necessary skills.
This type of learning is not only to teach children about natural elements but also improves other areas of a child’s development, including mental health, cognitive functioning, and immune support.
What is nature-based play?
Nature-based play is different from nature-based learning since the focus is more on unstructured play activities than on learning activities.
This type of play allows children to interact with natural features such as plants, logs, and rocks instead of conventional play structures.
Before You Go and Get Muddy
You probably didn’t need an excuse to get your children outside into nature to feel the fresh air and sunlight, but these benefits are important for your child’s development.
Even if you are surrounded by buildings and urban areas where you stay, you can still get your child outside to enjoy these benefits.
Use weekends to travel to parks and other natural settings for your child. This will give you the opportunity to go out and be a kid again by playing in the mud while spending quality time with your children.