Why Nature?

As parents and caregivers, we know that getting our children outside is important. But why? Let's see what the experts have to say.

Want to give kids a head start in every facet of development? Take them outside! Bright Horizonsopens a new window reminds adults that the best way to help our children grow intellectually, emotionally, socially and physically is to give them opportunities to connect to nature.

This white paper, "The Health Benefits of Parks" by the Trust for Public Landopens a new window, outlines the benefits of parks and exposure to nature. TL;DR: people are healthier when they have parks and green land in their neighborhoods and playing in parks support brain development in small children.

But what if something happens? The National Association for the Education of Young Childrenopens a new window (NAEYC) advises that adults give children the safety instructions and let them go with supervision but minimal intervention. Children will "rarely do something that makes them uncomfortable."

Dr. Scott Sampson, best known for his advisory roles on the show "Dinosaur Train" wrote a great book on how to get children into nature, How to Raise a Wild Childopens a new window. In his blog, The Whirlpool of Lifeopens a new window, he reminds us adults that we don't need to be experts! We just need to take our children outside and ask them questions about what they see.

What's your favorite way to play outside? Let us know in the comments!

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