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6 Ways Nature And The Outdoors Can Help Your Child Learn BetterIt’s more than just a way to keep kids off their phones!by Kate Borbon .
Adults typically assume that it’s inside the classroom or the home where children learn best, but research proves that spending time outdoors is a great way to make learning more fun and engaging for the little ones. Here are some research-backed ways that time outdoors can help your child learn better.
6 ways nature helps children learn
1. Nature helps improve a child’s attention.
Plenty of research has found that students who spend time outdoors can concentrate and perform better on tests, according to The Conversation. This is especially important because kids often have trouble paying attention to activities they do at home or school.
2. Nature activates a child’s senses.
Nature is rich with stimuli to engage a child’s senses; there are lots of things for her to see, hear, touch, and smell outdoors, like the sounds of birds singing or the color of different flowers or the texture of a tree trunk.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
3. Nature gives kids the chance to be more inquisitive.
Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, tells the Child Mind Institute that nature “creates a unique sense of wonder for kids that no other environment can provide.” When kids spend time in nature, they have many opportunities to think and make hypotheses about the things they experience.
4. Nature promotes creativity.
The Child Mind Institute says that when children are allowed to spend time outdoors, they can engage in unstructured play which then lets them “think more freely, design their own activities, and approach the world in inventive ways.”
5. Being outside allows children to move and exercise freely.
Aside from being rich with stimuli, nature is an ideal playground for kids because it’s a wide space for them to run around and have fun. This kind of free, unstructured play will also let your child exercise and have a healthy outlet for all her energy.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
6. Being in nature helps reduce stress.
Like adults, kids also get stressed out, so taking a walk outside or breathing in some fresh air can be just as beneficial for them. According to Greater Good Magazine, studies say that having an outdoor class once a week helps improve children’s daily cortisol patterns, which then allows them to adapt better to stress.
How to encourage your child to spend time in nature
It can be scary for parents to let their kids play outdoors for fear that they might get hurt or be unsafe. However, in her talk at the Smart Parenting Masterclass Toddler ExperTips, Ani Almario, school director and founder of The Raya School, encouraged parents to let their children spend more time in nature by engaging in physical activities themselves.
Almario shared, “Konting daring lang, [like] ‘Okay, hindi ako nagha-hike, pero magha-hike ako for my child,’ o kaya, ‘Natatakot talaga ako [baka] anong mangyari sa kanya… pero ire-release ko muna siya. Hindi ako mag-i-intervene kahit nakita ko natulak na siya.’”ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Still, she recognized that this can be challenging for parents. “Ang hirap no’n e… pero kaya natin ‘yon gawin paminsan-minsan until we trust them, kasi ang goal naman natin ay maging independent sila. ‘Yon ang goal natin, that they will make decisions on their own and they will live life on their own terms.”
Research has proven that letting kids engage in risky outdoor play is essential for their healthy development. Click here to learn more.
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