Memories can be made through a kids’ adventure that they’ll remember for a lifetime. However, too much time is being spent by children indoors. This has led to the evolution of an extreme crisis termed as nature deficit disorder. This disorder is causing nationwide panic.
Although the term disorder is just rhetorical, it’s obvious that more time is being spent indoors as opposed to outdoors by children. Technology is largely to blame for this scenario. Every day, over 4 hours are spent by the average UK child in front of a screen. Unstructured play happening outdoors only takes up 4 to 7 minutes.
Another big factor leading to this is the rising parental worries concerning diseases as well as the risks that come with playing outside even though evidence suggests otherwise. The parcelling off of nature is being witnessed with the expansion of suburbs and exurbs. Less inclination is being placed by children to hang out in a fenced-in compound, never mind strolling the woods or climbing up the neighbour’s fence. Rather than going through all that hassle, why not just dive into indoor activities? No sunscreen is needed while indoors right? These activities are much safer and promote an active social presence for children through social media accounts and multiplayer video games.
Why go outside?
The benefit of time spent outside has been supported by recent studies. These studies point out that it’s a necessity for both children and adults to spend time outside. There’s still a lack of clarity on cognitive functioning as well as mood enhancements. Still, there are several things that we know of regarding why nature is perfect for the minds of children.
Confidence is built
Less structure is involved when playing in nature in comparison to indoor play. Interaction with outdoor settings can be done in infinite ways. From the local park to the back garden, there are unlimited ways for you to foster interactions. You can let your child have control over his actions by giving him a chance to treat nature in his own way. Imagination and creativity are promoted by doing this. Meaningful interactions with the environment are also born out of this unstructured play. Children have more freedom to think through such interactions. They can embark on designing their own tasks. Inventive approaches to the world are also nurtured through such interactions.
Responsibility is taught through outdoor interactions
Death occurs due to the mistreatment or improper care of living organisms. A child can learn what happens when proper care isn’t prioritised while taking care of the environment’s living parts. They get to discover what happens when flowers are pulled out by their roots or when one disregards watering a plant. Different stimulation is provided by these lessons. It may seem like the violent video games that your son plays are more stimulating. This is far from it; nature can help in the activation of more senses. Outdoor environments help activate the sense of touch, sight, sound and smell. Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, warns that the diversity that comes with the human experience is significantly reduced when children spend less time interacting with the natural surrounding. Fewer interactions lead to narrow senses.
It keeps children on the move
Exercises are a crucial part of interacting with nature. Bike riding or playing football isn’t mandatory. A simple walk can help with blood flow. Exercises are great for children. Not only that, more focus can be enjoyed through exercise. This can be quite advantageous for children with ADHD.
It helps with thinking
According to Louv, a unique inquisitive sense is created through interactions with nature. This isn’t provided by any other environment. Questions regarding life and the earth are asked by children every day through their interactions with nature.
It leads to the reduction of fatigue and stress
Directed attention is needed in urban surroundings. This is in accordance with Attention Restoration Theory. Our brains are fatigued through directed attention. This leads to us disregarding distractions. Soft fascination, a form of attention, is portrayed within natural surroundings. Rather than fatigue being endured, pleasure is derived from such surroundings.
Screen time may be the popular choice to go for. Still, spending time outside playing is important. Time needs to be set aside for this to be achieved.