A school in Scotland recently tried out a new playground design, an ‘urban jungle’, which reportedly was a great success, not only with the children, but also with the adults, as it helped significantly reduce the number of accidents and the incidence of bullying in the playground: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-15623658
Such findings don’t come as a surprise, though. It is a well-known fact that nature has a calming effect and that children benefit from playing outside in many ways: from climbing trees (which helps develop coordination and balance) to gathering natural materials to build their own toys (which boosts creativity), the outdoors are full of not only exciting adventures but also potential lessons to learn.
It is worth considering that regular contact with nature fosters a positive attitude towards the environment. The only way to guarantee that the adults of the future will care for the planet and will take action to ensure its sustainability is providing the children of today with first-hand experiences of nature.
Unstructured play outside also furthers the ability to approach problems in a creative manner, utilising all the resources available to create solutions: a hands-on approach that will transform into proactive problem solving in their future lives.
The outdoors provide children with a positive channel to expend their seemingly endless energy, which in turn renders them more capable of concentrating in school and less restless. Surely something to look forward to!
So why not take a look at these simple ideas to keep your child out of doors for some time every day and encourage a healthy attitude towards nature and its wonders: http://www.centreforconfidence.co.uk/flourishing-lives.php?p=cGlkPTE3MyZpZD02NjY=
And last but not least, we would like to invite you to watch a short but touching interview with author Richard Louv, whose best-seller book ‘Last Child In The Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder’ is a powerful source of inspiration. Here he emphasises the influence that playing outdoors exerts on the holistic growth of children: http://www.sdbgarden.org/AV-video-2.htm
By Maria Montoya