Michael Coren, writing for Fast Company’s Co.exist blog, reinforces what parents have been saying for decades: spending time outside in nature improves our mental and physical well being.
By measuring quantitative data like heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension, recent studies have shown that a person’s mere proximity to trees, plants, and other greenery can greatly improve their mood and even reduce their violent and aggressive behaviour. Good thing to note if you’re the parent of a three-year-old.
Moreover, according to Dan Coe, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee, natural playgrounds built within gardens and with natural features have a great impact on children. Kids spend twice as much time playing on a natural playground than manufactured ones. And overall they are more active, too.
So what do you do if scheduling and location make it hard to find a time or place for your kids to play outside?
Kari Svenneby started a club.
In 2006, Kari wanted her daughter to experience playing outside the way she had when growing up in Norway. Her struggle to find other families in her area led her to create the Active Kids Club, a grass-roots movement that uses social media to connect like-minded parents in the same area to start or develop outdoor kids play groups.
Being outdoors not only gives kids the chance to explore and experience the natural world. It’s also a great place for them to learn and practice the kinds of movement skills that will help them become physically literate.