This is a great article about the benefits of nature play for kids that includes scientific research:

40 Astounding Benefits of Outdoor Nature Play for Kids

There’s no denying we have some work to do when it comes to getting our kids outside. For both their mental and physical health and well-being, we now know for a fact that getting back to our nature roots plays a powerful role in combating mental health conditions and serves as an enormous protective factor for our children.

In our Western modern culture, however, our kids are growing evermore disconnected from their natural environment and researchers have gone far enough to call this phenomenon ‘Nature deficit disorder’.

Studies show that while screentime and indoor time have increased for children, time spent outdoors in nature play has dramatically decreased.

Here are 40 benefits of nature play for kids according to the article:

Mental and Emotional Health

  • Improves cognition and thinking
  • Increases focus
  • bolsters resilience against stress
  • Increases mood
  • Decreases anxiety
  • Builds confidence
  • Provides regulation sensory input for the nervous system
  • Builds mindfulness skills
  • Improves short term memory
  • Decreases anger
  • Reduces ADHD symptoms
  • Boosts confidence
  • Improved self-regulation skills

Physical health

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Decreased rates of obesity
  • Provides sensory stimuli
  • Increases energy levels
  • Increases vitamin D levels
  • Reduced risk of bone disease
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Improves nutrition
  • Improves eyesight
  • Improves balance
  • Improves range of movement
  • Promotes muscle development
  • strengthens immune system

Character development

  • Higher levels of creativity
  • Increases appreciation and regard for the environment
  • Builds imagination
  • Teaches responsibility
  • Creates opportunities for awe and wonder
  • Encourages healthy risk-taking
  • Promotes experimentation
  • Develops critical thinking skills
  • Improves social skills
  • Improves self-discipline
  • Develops empathy
  • Promotes a deeper understanding of the world
  • Increase life satisfaction
  • Increases levels of kindness

The positive effects of nature play for children go far beyond psychological. Nature has been proven important to children’s development in every major way—intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually and physically (Kellert, 2005)

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