Computers! iPads! Smart Phones! In today’s urbanized world these devices are taking over and there is no denying it. How do children and nature fit into this? These devices and the ease at which information can be accessed means children now have a greater knowledge and awareness of the global threats to the environment, however the physical contact and intimacy once shared between children and nature is fading, and fewer children are enjoying the opportunity and benefits that playing outdoors brings.
The positive links between direct experiences with nature and children’s development is proven to impact a child’s mental, emotional and physical health and well-being.
Regular direct access to nature can:
- Increase self esteem
- Support creativity and problem solving
- Improve cognitive development
- Impact on their cooperation, flexibility and self-awareness
- Prevents childhood obesity, and if growing own fruit and vegetables can improve nutrition as they are more likely to eat them
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Increase physical activity
- Improve academic performance
Developing an early connection with nature forms a direct respectful relationship, it refreshes the human spirit and teaches the important ideas of life and becoming stewards of the earth.
Children need nature for the simple reason that they are a part of it. It instills a sense of beauty and calmness. It exposes them to things that are alive and growing and promotes curiosity and exploration. Nature doesn’t judge them, rather it is place where their self-esteem can thrive, their imagination can come alive and they can discover and learn. Their six senses are engaged seeing, smelling, touching, tasting and hearing all of the extraordinary things that are a part of the natural world.
Nature enriches a child’s life and in the fast paced urbanised world of today it is the antidote for them prosper.