Ahhh, children. They’ll play in the dirt like no one’s business and explore like there’s no tomorrow. Sometimes as parents we want to keep children inside where it’s safer and we can keep an eye on them always. In our fast-paced, technology ridden world, it IS undeniably easier to set a kid up on the tablet or computer. But, we should encourage nature play instead of forgetting about it, because of its benefits.
Children do a lot of their learning through playing, whether it’s obvious to us or not. It’s a great idea to have play occur outside instead of inside. This allows them to connect with the environment and start developing an appreciation for it early. Plus, nature is everywhere, so why not utilise such an awesome resource?
‘Nature play’ is any activity that gets children thinking outdoors or simply being active outdoors.
By allowing and encouraging our children to play outside we help them develop the skills they need to be left to their own devices, without adults controlling the situation. Simply playing outside can help children grow creativity, curiosity, resilience and the ability to negotiate risks. By climbing trees, discovering land and other activities outdoors, children learn to assess the dangers of certain situations. They simply gain better risk assessment skills. Minor injuries help children grow and learn!
Of course, it additionally has physical, social and mental benefits in general. Outside, children have so many opportunities to interact with other children. They can solve problems together, explore and discover together, help each other and just generally connect. Additionally, no technology can even come close to how beautiful and amazing Mother Nature is. Regularly playing outdoors also promotes better mood and less mental fatigue – not just for children, but adults too. The sunshine, the smells, the feel of nature and the animals are something that every child deserves to experience in full.
Encouraging being outdoors and getting involved in physical activity can put in motion a love for nature that can stick throughout their lives.
This is always a positive! Screen time is increasing a lot these days, taking us further away from nature and the world that we physically live in. Teaching your children to appreciate nature helps them to care about the environment later in life. The world and ultimately ourselves will benefit from this.
Nature Play in Queensland can provide more information on the benefits of nature play in both childhood and adulthood, recommended amounts of physical activities for children and teens, and how nature play can be encouraged.
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