Nature is the first home of man. In the great outdoors, the primitive man carried out all the activities, i.e., sleeping, eating, and hunting. Nowadays, we spend most of our time indoors at home, school, or the office, etc., and get very little outdoor exposure.
Research indicates that kids have an average screen time of seven hours, i.e., they spend seven hours using electronic gadgets such as phones, laptops, tablets, etc. Their outdoor exposure and physical activities have become very limited, and they prefer an easy and sedentary life indoors.
This hurts children's mental, physical, and intellectual growth and development. On the other hand, nature-inspired physical activities such as jogging, hiking, swimming, rowing, etc., lead to more well-rounded children with better cognitive abilities.
Let us look at how outdoor exploration contributes to children's physical and mental development.
Improves The Health and Strengthens The Immunity of Children
Nature-inspired physical games such as catching and throwing balls, lifting and carrying objects, jumping, pulling, running, etc., are not just fun activities, but they lead to improved motor skills as well. Any physical activity requires multiple muscles, resulting in stronger bones and muscles.
By spending more time outdoors, children interact with flora and fauna found in nature. They get exposed to a wide variety of microbes which activates and strengthens the immune system. Playing in the sun stimulates the production of Vitamin D, which results in stronger bones and better health overall.
By engaging in physical activities, children lead an active lifestyle and burn more calories. This reduces the risk of obesity and related chronic diseases.
Development of Behavioral Skills
Unstructured outdoor play provides the opportunity to interact freely with friends and develop positive behavioral skills. Children who play without adult supervision learn to communicate, explore, and navigate the world independently. This leads to dependable and more capable individuals with improved organizational skills.
Unstructured outdoor exploration makes children more creative. When playing games with friends and siblings, they create different scenarios, invent certain aspects of the game and decide the rules themselves. Hence, it sharpens cognitive abilities and problem-solving skills as well.
Sharpened Sensory Skills
Everything about the indoors is artificial. The lights, ventilation, heating, and cooling systems are all designed by humans. On the contrary, all systems flow naturally in the outdoors. The outdoors stimulate and engage all human senses. Children's primitive senses, such as hearing and vision, are engaged and sharpened when they spend time outdoors.
Studies show that children who spend time outside have better vision and hearing abilities. Toddlers and preschoolers are naturally curious and learn from the different elements of nature. By observing various aspects of nature, such as a bright-colored flower, a flying butterfly, tasting a fruit, smelling a fragrant flower, or hearing the screech of a bird, all their senses are engaged.
Hence, children who spend considerable time in nature have better-developed senses and improved motor skills. Being confined indoors for long periods can mentally and physically dull children.
Happier, More Robust Children
Mother nature has a calming effect. Scientific studies show that sunlight activates the pineal gland along the brain's midline. The gland produces feel-good hormones that improve our mood and make us happier. Hence, spending time in nature results in happier, more robust, and more content children.
R.A.D. Camps understand the importance of outdoor exploration and spending time in nature. Our summer day camp program is designed with a special focus on fun, free play, camaraderie, and an appreciation for our natural world.
If you are searching for a beautiful summer day camp experience for your child, enroll them in R.A.D. Camps. We are located in Bend, Oregon, and we conduct multiple fun-filled activities for children in the Deschutes and Willamette National Forests. Our motto is to connect children with nature through fun-filled activities.
For more information, visit our website or call us at (541) 410-7258.
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Chance is the owner and CEO of RAD Camps in Bend, Oregon. He attended RAD Camps summer programs as a kid and loved it so much he bought the company!