Getting outside as a family is a great way to spend time together. But what can you do outdoors while staying a safe distance from others during the COVID-19 pandemic? Think nature exploration!
Getting outside provides more than a fun break for children and teens. It is also good for their physical and mental health and development. Children and teens who spend time enjoying nature can be:
Physically healthier. Children play harder outdoors than indoors. Especially without the structure of preschool, school or afterschool activities, children especially need opportunities to move. More outdoor time is linked with improved motor development and lower obesity rates.
More engaged in learning. Playing outside promotes more curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking. Studies have found that children who spent more time in nature exploration had improved learning outcomes.
More positive in behavior. Research has found that when children spent time in natural settings they had less anger and aggression. Impulse control also improves. This might be especially important when normal routines have changed for children.
Mentally healthier. Stress and depression are lower for all people who spend time in nature. Children show increased focus and reduced symptoms of for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Take advantage of the healing power of play in nature—in your own backyard or on a walk. Be sure to follow local public health guidelines about wearing masks and keep at least 6 feet from others not in your family. Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer during and after your adventure. Getting outdoors, being in nature, and moving our bodies is good for everyone!
Content Credit: healthychildren.org by by: Danette Glassy, MD, FAAP & Pooja Tandon, MD, FAAP