As school is winding down and I am trying to figure out how to keep my kids busy all summer, I am trying to find experiences and ways to get them outdoors and off screen time.
According to University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension staff, “Daily experiences in natural environments can have immediate and long-lasting benefits for children. Increased physical activity is associated with decreases in depression and anxiety and increases in levels of concentration. It also is a key strategy in addressing childhood obesity.”
Outdoor adventures and experiences can help any age child learn and develop socially and cognitively. Research has shown that nature benefits children (and adults) in:
- enhancing cognitive growth (thinking skills);
- developing greater ability to handle negative stress;
- increasing creativity;
- developing more resistance to depression; and
- decreasing symptoms of ADHD
I have noticed in my own kids that their social skills are continually improving by allowing them to pretend/fantasy play house outside with my card-table and chairs and their play kitchen set. It has also allowed them to let off steam and is a calming effect that helps them focus.
Increased physical activity at any age level helps decrease depression and anxiety and increase concentration. So as you are filling up your summer calendar with activities make sure you schedule in outdoor activity and time for kids to experience nature and time for free-play and away from screen-time.
For more information on early childhood development and resources contact Audrey Rider.