Why our children need to get outside and engage with nature

On the subject of free range kids, here are some exerts from the article below....

if, like 64% of kids today, you played outside less than once a week, or were one of the 28% who haven't been on a country walk in the last year, the 21% who've never been to a farm and the 20% who have never once climbed a tree, you wouldn't know much about nature either.

The distance our kids stray from home on their own has shrunk by 90% since the 70s; 43% of adults think a child shouldn't play outdoors unsupervised until the age of 14. More children are now admitted to British hospitals for injuries incurred falling out of bed than falling out of trees.

But a growing body of evidence is starting to show that it's not so much what children know about nature that's important, as what happens to them when they are in nature (and not just in it, but in it by themselves, without grownups). Respectable scientists – doctors, mental health experts, educationalists, sociologists – are beginning to suggest that when kids stop going out into the natural world to play, it can affect not just their development as individuals, but society as a whole.

the chance of a child being killed by a stranger in Britain is, literally, one in a million, and has been since the 70s.

On the website childrenandnature.org, Louv cites a lengthening list of scientific studies indicating that time spent in free play in the natural world – a free-range childhood, perhaps – has a huge impact on health.

Obesity is perhaps the most visible symptom of the lack of such play, but literally dozens of studies from around the world show regular time outdoors produces significant improvements in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning ability, creativity and mental, psychological and emotional wellbeing.

Free and unstructured play in the outdoors boosts problem-solving skills, focus and self-discipline. Socially, it improves cooperation, flexibility, and self-awareness. Emotional benefits include reduced aggression and increased happiness.

Read the entire article here.




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