1. Sun exposure- Vitamin D from the sun plays a crucial role in many body processes from bone development to our immune system resulting in healthier sleep and improved mood. Reduce stress levels and anxiety. Grow your child’s happiness!
2. Exercise- active play outside is one of the best ways to engage children. 1 hour a day minimum of exercise is encouraged.
3. Physical Development- improves both fine and gross motor skills, lowers body mass index, improves overall health, and improves muscle strength.
4. Cognitive Development/Executive Function-Free play provides children to build skills in planning, prioritizing, troubleshooting, negotiating, multitasking, and problem solving. Creativity and imagination are enhanced allowing children to problem solve and entertain themselves. Promote critical thinking skills.
5. Academics- hands on opportunities to learn new vocabulary and concepts such as physics, chemistry, biology, math, language and more!
6. Increased Attention Span-children who play outside are more likely to stick to a task and are self-directed. Children with ADHD experience fewer symptoms from outdoor play.
7. Social/emotional development- provides an opportunity to work together, share, speak, listen, and understand effective communication skills, cooperate, and find their voice. Increases openness with parents. More likely to explore, be curious, and learn more about the world around them and use their own abilities.
8. Improve Sensory Skills-Children learn through their senses. All senses are engaged and enhanced when playing outside improving all perceptual abilities. Reduced risk of myopia (nearsightedness)
9. Take risks-allows children to learn their own boundaries and what innately feels good and what does not. Builds confidence and bravery to face situations. Both failures and successes in the outcome help children learn. Opportunities to overcome fears. Encourages children to listen to their inner compass building the relationship with self. Improves peer-to-peer relationships.
10. Greater Self-Awareness- interacting with the natural environment evokes a better understanding of who you are, what you are capable of, and what you desire.
11. Appreciation of nature- many live in an urban environment and are removed from nature. Connecting with nature builds a sense of gratitude and understanding of how precious our natural world is. Develop a lifelong connection with nature.
12. Supports all 12 Multiple Intelligences and Ways of Learning. Linguistic, Logical/Mathematical, Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Naturalist.
13. Nature facilitates us to be present in the now to appreciate life.