Q1: What will help your child better focus in school?
Q2: What will help your child develop gross and fine motor skills?
Q3: What allows kids to develop their imaginations?
Q4: When kids spend time here their social skills are improved?
This post isn't filled with the latest scientific research. It isn't suggesting that nature is the answer to every problem. But it is meant as encouragement to take a break from our tech-immersed, fast-pace world and reconnect with what really matters. The benefits may surprise you.
We, as a society, spend a TON of money on educational apps and toys, sensory bins, elaborate playgrounds and vacations for our kids. I am not saying those things are bad. But I am saying that if we just simply take our kids outside we won't need as much stuff, our kids will be a little happier and we will all be a little wealthier.
|Kids making nature bracelets last month.|
I see A LOT of blog posts and news articles recommending educational apps. There are apps for everything. You can hand your child your phone and they can improve their writing, speaking, geography or math skills. So many of us believe the time kids are spending on technology is beneficial just because it is educational. If they are learning it must be good. Right? I think we may be wrong.
I don't think that technology is altogether bad. It definitely serves a purpose and has some benefits. It is easier than ever to find information and, lets be honest, it is a lot of fun. And fun is needed. But do our children really need more information? Do they need to spend every minute of the day "learning"? NO! Playing is learning for kids.
I am a big fan of sensory bins. as long as they are full of sand and outdoors. Individuals and schools are spending time and resources to come up with elaborate sensory bins. In reality I think we should just spend our time and effort taking kids outdoors and cleaning them up afterwards. Let them dig in the dirt, climb trees and get dirty. Most of the skills they need will come and playing outdoors is a great way to practice. Invest the money in proper clothing so our kids can play outdoors in any weather.
On the home front. If your family is feeling the stress of everyday life and of running the kids from one activity to another? Take some time for nature. Take time to get away from the everyday stresses and reconnect. You can hike, camp, or visit free sites in any city. You don't need to spend a lot of money to have a wonderful time as a family, especially when your kids are young.
Now, just to clarify. Spending time outdoors is not a fix-all. Even though I think we are over-diagnosing kids with ADHD and similar disorders; they are still real and no amount of time spent outdoors will make them go away. But I do believe our kids will be happier, better adjusted and more successful if they just have time to play outdoors. If kids with ADHD are not finding ways to manage their condition in a healthy way, they will do it in unhealthy ways.
What benefits have you and your family experienced from spending time outdoors?
If you need some inspiration for outdoor activities, follow by Kid - Outdoor Activities Pinterest board!Follow Mae @ OutdoorsMom's board Kids - Outdoor Activities on Pinterest.