Why Every Child Needs A Little Time With Nature

March 21st 2017




Locking yourself inside all day is probably a bad idea. But do you know who this is particularly detrimental for? Children.

The benefits of children spending time outdoors.

While there are myriad health benefits that come with going outside, from improving your memory to boosting your immune system, these benefits are integral for children whose bodies and minds are still actively developing.

To help push you and any little ones you know outside more, here are four reasons why kids benefit from the outdoors.

The outdoors are physically good for children.

While it may sound obvious, getting a child outdoors does the body good.

First, four out of ten toddlers and children are Vitamin D deficient. And why is Vitamin D important? Because it helps with bone and teeth growth and can curb skeletal deformities. How can this be solved? A bit of sunlight, AKA unbroken outdoor time.

Beyond this, time spent outside is physically helpful in that it can prevent nearsightedness and control the threat of childhood obesity.

Outdoor kids are more confident kids.

Exploring the outdoors has a slight element of risk involved and that actually helps a child's confidence. Activities like tree climbing and snowball fights—or even five minutes of playground play—”can produce rapid improvements in mental wellbeing and self-esteem” for children.

Nature writer Florence Williams sees this contrast in the difference of outdoor time now versus then. "Over 70% of mothers report that they played outside every day when they were kids," she told Moms Clear Air Force. "Yet, only 27% of their kids play outside every day!"

The answer is very clear: get kids outside. Experiencing small risks outdoors helps children because it prepares kids for life as opposed to the limited challenges offered by entertainment like television. 

You can protect kids from “nature-deficit disorder.”

Time spent outdoors can help children with concentration by staving off ADHD. Studies have found that children with ADHD concentrate better after a walk outside and “helped close the gap between children with ADHD and those without ADHD” in regards to focus.

Extended outdoor time can help with “nature-deficit disorder,” a term created by writer Richard Louv to describe how a lack of natural experiences in children enables issues like ADD.

So, if you want a more focused kid, nature is both a cure and a preventative measure.


Green kids are smarter kids.

As you may have deduced, kids who are exposed to green spaces are actually smarter.

Nature writer Florence Williams explained this further in the aforementioned interview with Moms Clean Air Force. "Studies also show that schools with the most green space and give kids the most time outside," Williams said. "Those kids have better test scores. If you’re a parent concerned about academics, providing outdoor opportunities for your kid is another thing you can do."

Moreover, a similar 2014 study found that the greener elementary schools performed better at English and math tests than their non-green counterparts.

This is certainly something to think about when considering a school for a child: is there enough surrounding green space? You might want there to be.

To find classes, outings, and events to help you get outside, click here.