After a year spent inside, it makes sense now more than ever that parents would encourage their children to spend time outside, enjoying everything we took for granted before the pandemic.
Whether that’s their backyard, a neighborhood playground or a sports field, the benefits of nudging children out of their comfort zone – their home- and into nature are well-documented and promoted by teachers, researchers, and child psychologists alike.
Advocates of outdoor education are adamant that playing and relaxing outdoors, surrounded by nature and away from technology, can help reduce stress and anxiety, encourage curiosity, nurture an interest in protecting the planet, develop perception, and even boost academic performance.
Time away from screens and in nature
We’re all a little guilty of being entirely too dependent on technology. We use it to communicate with loved ones, to find quick answers to pressing questions, and even to keep children entertained.
According to a study commissioned by Common Sense Media in 2013, nearly 40% of children in the United States know how to use an iPad before they’ve even said their first word. This codependency and obsession with technology has made playing outside a thing of the past: kids are spending more time inside, tethered to these devices, and away from the real-life experiences that will be beneficial to them in the future.
Although technology has helped us advance greatly in terms of education and child development, it’s also necessary to remember that real-life experiences are equally important.
The more time that children spend outside, connecting with our planet and absorbing information and knowledge first-hand, the happier and more engaged they are when learning new things.
Going back to basics
The great thing about an outdoor, hands-on education is that it introduces children to a whole new world of learning that resembles their idea of “fun”: it’s a little messy, it involves more creativity, and it’s packed with new adventures.
This change of pace from traditional learning techniques helps children develop aptitudes and skills that don’t come as easy when working from inside a classroom; like staying physically active, working together with others, using their five senses, and encouraging politeness and tolerance.
Here is one way of educating your children through the outdoors: rather than teaching your child about our planet with books or apps, grab your sneakers and try a nature walk around the neighborhood or at a nearby park. Not only is this a bonding exercise with your child, but it’ll transform whatever educational material they got from a book or app from “concept” to “real-life experience”.
Where do you stand on promoting outdoor education? Let’s have a chat in the comments 🌿