Seeing kids have fun in nature, falling in the grass, playing with the mud, and hiding between the trees... It's a joy for children and adults alike. And, it benefits their health.
Both mentally and physically, children benefit from being in contact with nature. We're going to go over some of those benefits and how to get your kids more involved with the outdoors.
It can seem like a big task nowadays, with people being so addicted to their cell phones and technology, but taking your kids out to play in the dirt may be one of the kindest of things you do for their health.
Kids Love Nature
Inherently, kids love to explore. They want to poke around and see what they can discover. The outdoors allows a rich array of things to explore and learn about.
Mentally, this is very important play. As children learn to explore, they build the mental pathways that help them focus on developing critical-thinking skills and risk assessment later in life. Of course, none of these develop overnight, but it can be a good foundation.
Letting your children run around in the yard, climb over rocks, climb trees, and explore stream banks help develop independence and coordination.
As children figure out how to move across unstable territory, it reinforces the critical thinking skills and helps develop fine motor coordination necessary later on for tasks including driving and being able to treat people with a gentle hand.
And it provides great exercise. With over half of all children categorized as overweight or obese, getting out nature allows them to expend their energy, build muscle, and get rid of unwanted fat.
Nature Loves Kids
But it's not just the developmental skills children benefit from.
Nature is filled with probiotics. Researchers have discovered more than 200 strains of probiotic bacteria found in dirt and soil. All kids get dirty and consume this dirt, and when they do, they take in these probiotics, which can help digest food better and increase immunity. In this case, saying clean is not beneficial.
Probiotics are not the only thing found in dirt. Yeast, viruses, bacteria, and fungus all coexist in the dirt. When children start getting dirty, their immune system begins building up resistance to these potential Invaders. Over time, the body starts recognizing how to fight off more and more illnesses more effectively.
As children learn they love nature and nature provides entertainment and comfort, conservation efforts increase. The next generation can gain the same benefits by being close to nature.
How To Get Your Kids More Interested In Nature
The best way to start kids to love nature is to start early. Take them out as babies and let them see nature, crawl around in the grass, and touch plants. This can develop a lifelong love of being outside.
It has to be consistent, being outside should happen often and in various weather conditions to develop the good habit.
If your children are a little bit older, take them outside. It may take a little while to develop the habit of going outside and enjoying themselves if they aren't used to it, but the results are worth it.
Activities such as walks in the woods, strolls around the neighborhood, and games in the yard help reinforce the idea that being outside is good. And, it helps develop the idea that being without technology is acceptable.
Children learn by what they see, and if they see you in the house all the time, they will want to be in the house with you. But, if you teach them going outside is enjoyable and constructive, kids can develop a lifelong love of being outside. It benefits our health, connecting with nature helps mentally and physically all life-long.