Nature Nurtures Kids!

May 23, 2012

Photo courtesy of Trailside Discovery Camp in Anchorage, Alaska.

Stargazing in the night sky, hiking in an ancient forest, even just feeling the breeze on a warm day — these simple things help kids find peace of mind, wonder, and a greater connection to the world. Camp is one of the best places (and in some cases, the only place) for kids to be nurtured by nature!

Time spent in nature — away from a screen — benefits kids in so many ways:

  • Mental: Studies have shown that time spent in nature improves cognitive functioning.
  • Physical: Playing outdoors gets kids off the couch and moving, helping them reach (and often exceed!) their recommended 60 minutes of activity time per day.
  • Emotional: Studies have shown that nature reduces stress, and it allows for opportunities of self-discovery.

(Read more about these benefits and others in “Nature, Childhood, Health and Life Pathways” by Jules Pretty, et al. — a 2009 report from University of Essex.)

Nature is also a great way to “come up for air” in our technology-saturated world. In a recent blog, bestselling author Richard Louv relates that while some aspects of technology can be fun and beneficial, recent studies show there are serious cognitive and emotional detriments to a world without nature!

There's no escaping some "screen time" in kids' lives, but here's the good news: Researchers have found that when children are exposed to free play in nature at a young age, they are likely to make a lifelong connection with the outdoors. Kids might think they are just having fun at the waterfront, under the trees, or on the hill — but they are really forming a bond with nature that will offer renewal and life skills for the rest of their lives!

Photo courtesy of Trailside Discovery Camp in Anchorage, Alaska.