When you were a child, you likely entertained yourself by playing outside, climbing trees, building forts, and catching bugs. You may have also played with other kids in the neighbourhood and sometimes may have come home muddy and bruised—but still happy and satisfied. Sadly, most children these days don’t get as much time to play in nature as the previous generations had. Most of the time, kids prefer to spend their hours glued to their gadgets.
Children may be missing out on the benefits of immersing, playing, and learning in nature. Parents can do their part to expose their kids to nature by teaching them about the value of the great outdoors and searching for excellent kindergarten Ang Mo Kio schools and programs that incorporate holistic approaches to learning.
Below are the benefits of learning in nature, which can serve as one of the best classrooms that life has to offer:
It Promotes Better Mental Health
There are more than enough studies to support the premise that being in nature improves one’s mental health. A review of about 35 studies concluded that nature positively affects children’s mental health. In fact, simply being one with nature can decrease anxiety, depression, and stress. Moreover, interactions with greenery and natural surroundings resulted in improved self-esteem and resilience—two things you definitely want your child to learn at an early age.
It Increases Physical Fitness
A child’s sedentary lifestyle can result in a lot of health conditions, including childhood obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. Getting them out and about in the school’s garden or playground can do wonders for their physical fitness. It can also improve their mood and confidence, encouraging them to play, explore, and do more physical activities. Current scientific literature shows that exercising outside in nature can motivate people to exert more effort because they’re enjoying what they’re doing. As such, it would be a good idea to find a sport or fun activity that your child likes to do, and encourage them to do it outdoors.
It Keeps Kids Engaged
Kids can easily lose interest if the only way they learn is by listening to their teacher lecture all day. However, when allowed to learn in settings like an outdoor garden or park, children tend to become livelier and more engaged. A study about how lessons in nature boost engagement showed that children became more focused and attentive after a lesson outdoors. Parents and teachers alike can consider letting kids learn outdoors so that they can process lessons in ways that are refreshing and fun for them.
It Helps Kids Learn about the Environment
Immersing kids in nature can also help adults highlight important lessons about taking care of the environment. Being in nature makes it easier for kids to appreciate the trees, plants, and animals around them, as well as the roles that they play as stewards of nature. Learning about the environment from a screen or from the confines of a classroom pales in comparison to learning in nature itself, where kids can use all their senses to observe the natural world, differentiate good environmental practices from harmful ones, and form their own conclusions about what they can do for the world around them.
It Provides Opportunities for Socialisation with Peers
As children interact with nature and each other, they develop their socialisation skills in a more unstructured and natural way. By sharing their discoveries and observations about being in nature, they can also learn more about themselves and other people. This leads to better socialisation skills that set the foundation for healthy and enduring friendships.
It Boosts Creativity
The calming and restorative effect that nature provides can also enhance creativity in kids. Children can use their imagination as they discover how to play with natural materials such as flowers, bark, and soil. They can also think of ways in which these materials can be used and reinvented, for example for art projects.
It Encourages Self-Discipline
Self-discipline is one of the most important values you can teach your kids. However, it can also be difficult to do, especially with children who have conditions like attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Fortunately, there’s hope on the horizon with this study that aims to explore a natural treatment for ADHD . The study’s findings revealed that a green outdoor environment can reduce the symptoms of ADHD in children, thus unlocking new avenues for parents to concretise self-discipline and impulse control—even when these concepts seem difficult for children to learn.
You Can Explore Nature with Them
If you’re not comfortable letting your child explore nature on their own, why not join them? You may be surprised at how much you can enjoy spending time with them in a natural environment. What’s more, your being enthusiastic about outdoor activities may rub off on your children, making outdoor activities more fun for everyone in the family.
You Can Find New Ways to Enjoy Natural Surroundings Together
You don’t have to move to a bigger lot with trees just to let your child discover a nature-inspired space. It’s also possible to bring nature to your home by creating a small balcony garden and adding houseplants to it. If you already have a garden, why not schedule a gardening day with your kids? Amidst the small pocket of nature in your home, they can learn about how plants grow from seed to fruit—and you may even be able to enjoy a small harvest together.
Nature Allows Your Kids to Get Dirty
Don’t limit your kid’s experiences to indoor spaces just for convenience. When they come home with muddy outfits, there’s no need to lecture them about needing to keep clean. Instead, be curious and ask about what they discovered when they were outdoors. Regardless of how dirty your kids get, nature will allow them to let loose in a healthy way.
As demonstrated above, there’s a lot that parents can do to encourage their children’s love of nature and the great outdoors. Nature has a lot to offer kids, so don’t let them miss out by keeping them inside all day.