Are children playing outside less?
Results of new studies show that less than 10% of children today spend time outdoors in a natural environment like woodland, coastline or farmland. Studies also show that children who spend more time in natural spaces are less likely to develop mental and physical illnesses. Outdoor activities have been shown to develop a healthy and more positive attitude, aid mental development and general problem-solving skills.
There are many cited reasons for this dramatic decline, like the increased coverage of the perceived dangers to children outside, although statistically the dangers are no greater than in past decades. An increase in media consumption can often be attributed to the rise of concerned parents when it comes to allowing their child to walk to the park, ride their bike around the neighborhood or play in the woods nearby. Additionally, the increase in the affordability and availability of internet-based toys, phones, apps, gaming consoles and games for all ages has meant that many children today spend several hours a day alone with just a computer for company.
What can be done to change these negative trends? A simple answer is just to spend some time outdoors every day with your child. Share your love of nature with them and instill in them an appreciation for outdoor activities. Whether it is playing in a park, taking a hike in your local woodlands or a walk along the beach, whatever environment is available in your area – make use of it.
If you have a woodland area, why not try making a fairy garden that your child can tend and add magical toys and plants to, or create a diary of animals and plants that can be seen on a ramble or walk. Take pictures and look things up in books, or on the internet, when you get home to encourage your child to participate and to be involved in the ‘game’.
The benefits of just a few minutes out of doors each day are enormous. Statistics show that short term memory can be improved by up to 20% after even the smallest time in a natural environment and general attitude to both fitness and concentration are vastly improved.
Incorporating Nature in Play by Wooden Toy Shop.