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Research Shows Letting Kids Play In Nature Could Change Their Growth
The outdoors can help children learn how to interact with other people and feel a part of a community. Shutterstock.

Nature Helps Kids Build a Sense of Community

You have probably heard the phrase it takes a community to help raise a child. While most people tend to stick to parenting their children and rarely asking for help, the old saying is true. There is always a community that helps raise your children, and you just don’t ever think of it. For instance, teachers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, and many others help teach your children certain parts of life. Student/teacher and also peer-to-peer relationships are enhanced when in nature. Children who feel left out in indoor environments see improved relationships with peers and teachers when outdoors.

Researchers in Canada have shown that when children live in a greener environment, they feel a stronger sense of place. They have a stronger sense that they belong to that community, and that’s essential. This idea helps improve your children’s emotions as they build their self-esteem by knowing they matter. They also learn how to engage with other people, their environment, and help keep everyone healthy and safe. Another study shows that people who live in areas with more greenery feel safer and have better relationships with neighbors, so children likely have an easier time making new friends in greener places.

Research Shows Letting Kids Play In Nature Could Change Their Growth
By playing outside, your children can build their immune system, which helps keeps them healthy. Shutterstock.

The Many Physical Benefits

There are dozens of physical benefits your children will receive while playing outside. Depending on the activities they play will depend on what muscles they build up. For instance, if they focus on running, they will strengthen their legs more than their arms and back. If they concentrate on climbing trees, they will enhance their arms and legs. Even motor skills are more advanced in kids who play outside instead of their peers who spend more time indoors. Because playing outside lets children test their physical abilities, they end up with more mastery and confidence over their movements.

Another benefit to their physical health is that they receive a lot of Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, building a robust immune system, and improving their emotional and mental health. Also, their overall fitness will increase. That is because they’re busy with their activities and burn calories. Studies have also shown an apparent link between the amount of time spent outside and BMI. It’s probably not a huge shock to learn that when kids spend more time playing outside, they tend to have a lower BMI. Maintaining a healthy BMI lowers a child’s risk for long-term health issues.

Research Shows Letting Kids Play In Nature Could Change Their Growth
Take time to bring your children outside and play with them, whether it’s going for a walk, bike ride, or playing their favorite outdoor game. Shutterstock.

Nature Helps Children Develop Stronger Ties With Their Family

Take a moment to think about how much time you spend with your children, partner, and even your parents. With so much technology, children spend more and more time alone in their rooms doing what they enjoy, but this weakens family ties. Even by ensuring you have a family game or movie night, one day a week isn’t enough time to strengthen your family members’ connection. We all know how important family time is for building and maintaining a strong family bond, but scheduling can be challenging. What can we do to get more family time out of our busy weeks?

Surveys show that families who spend time outdoors, even just 5 minutes, whether it’s going for a bike ride, walk, or camping, feel closer than families who spend most of their time indoors. They admit that outdoor experiences and letting go of their desire to check or spend most of the time in front of screens help improve family relationships. It can also teach your children how to communicate better because they spend more time talking to people around them than texting or messaging their friends and family members. In addition to that, spending time outside with your family is good for everyone’s mood, concentration, and overall well-being.

Research Shows Letting Kids Play In Nature Could Change Their Growth
Nature will help your children build up their mental health in a positive direction, which can stick with them for the rest of their lives. Shutterstock.

The Importance Of Mental Health and Nature

When it comes to a person’s overall well-being, it’s important to remember that your emotional, mental, and physical health are tied together. It doesn’t matter how old a person is; when someone is hurting emotionally, they can hurt mentally and even physically. For example, when children are anxious, they will complain of a stomach ache. Having poor mental health can harm our physical health, setting us up for health complications down the line. Thankfully, studies have shown that spending time in nature correlates with better coping skills for stress and anxiety.

To help improve your children’s mental health, you want to send them outside (or spend time with them outside) for at least 20 minutes a day. This concept will build their happiness level up, but it will also make them feel better overall. In return, they might feel sick less often. The positive emotions they feel while they’re playing outside will create a ripple effect in their lives that will continue as long as they keep spending time in nature. While exercise is an ideal outdoor activity and also a mood-booster, just spending time hanging out in a green space has been found to improve well-being.