Importance of getting children outdoors
In today's world, children are spending less and less time outdoors in nature. With the rise of technology and the increasing pressure of academic performance, children are missing out on the benefits of outdoor play.
This phenomenon is known as "nature deficit."
But what exactly is nature deficit, and how is it impacting our children?
Nature deficit is a term coined by Richard Louv, author of the book Last Child in the Woods. According to Louv, nature deficit is the idea that children are spending less time outdoors in nature, which is negatively impacting their physical, emotional, and cognitive development.
Research has shown that outdoor play in nature is essential for children's development. Studies have found that children who spend time in nature have better physical health, including lower rates of obesity, better motor skills, and stronger immune systems.
Being in nature also has a positive impact on children's emotional well-being, reducing stress and anxiety and improving mood and self-esteem.
Additionally, outdoor play in nature has been linked to better cognitive development. Studies have found that children who spend more time in nature have better attention spans, better memory, and better problem-solving skills.
Outdoor play has also been shown to improve creativity and imagination, as children have the opportunity to explore and discover new things in the natural world.
Despite the many benefits of outdoor play in nature, children today are spending more time indoors, in front of screens, and participating in structured activities. This lack of outdoor play is having a significant impact on children's physical, emotional, and cognitive development.
As Early Years educators, it is our responsibility to ensure that children have access to outdoor play in nature.
To get children outdoors and to ensure our Early Years provisions allow children the freedom to play out for extended periods of time (not just a quick 15 minutes morning and/or afternoon).
This can include taking children on nature walks, exploring local parks, playing in the garden, forest schools or even creating outdoor classrooms. By providing children with opportunities to connect with nature, we can help them develop into healthy, well-rounded individuals.
Children who appreciate nature, love being outdoors and have a connection to the natural world.
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