How important is getting our kids outdoors?

‘With smartphones, tablets, endless TV and the coolest gadgets in the world at their fingertips, it’s easy for kids to forget the outside world exists. So we need to show it to them!’

I recently came across an report by the National Trust all about Natural Childhood. I found it incredibly interesting but also quite shocking. The statistics around modern children and being in the outdoors are frightening, and with most of our young people preferring time on screens rather than in the garden, what can we do to encourage our young people to embrace the outdoors?

The report talks about how a ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ is creating all sorts of hidden issues for our kids, such as diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses, and even the loss of basic everyday abilities like assessing danger when crossing the road.

Children are increasingly becoming attached to their devices, and screen time is taking precedent over any other activities. With more and more time being spent indoors, the natural world is slowly being forgotten. The natural world is vital to our existence, providing us with essentials such as food, water and clean air, but also other cultural and health benefits not always fully appreciated because we get them for free. Increased contact with nature hugely improves the way children learn, both formally and informally. Outdoor learning gives them direct experience of the subject, making it more interesting and enhancing their understanding. It also enables them to develop the vital connections between the outside world and what educationalists call children’s ‘interior, hidden, affective world’.

At Forest Explorers, the heart of our business is allowing children to learn and grow in a natural forest environment. Our Forest School sessions are some of our favourites and is a wonderful way of working with children outdoors, helping them learn, whilst developing physically, emotionally and socially and forming an appreciation and respect for the environment. The sessions are child-led and child-initiated and aim to allow the child to follow their own interests and develop at their own pace. The sessions are also linked to a number of curriculum subjects and are a valuable teaching resource.

We think its wonderful that organisations like National Trust are bringing the importance of getting our children into the great outdoors into our everyday conversations. Its just so important. With such glorious weather predicted for the coming months, why not have a look at what outdoor activities you and your family can enjoy.

To read about the article mentioned please click the link below:

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/documents/read-our-natural-childhood-report.pdf