More and more children prefer to spend time indoors on the TV or with their video games than actually exploring their fenced-in yard, never mind the great outdoors! However, there are many studies (PDF) that point to the benefit of allowing children to explore nature and spend time playing in streams, hugging trees, spotting wildlife and just generally enjoying the sunlight and the fresh air.
So, how can your children and grandchildren benefit from nature and why should you take them on a great outdoors holiday?
Being in Nature Brings Many Health Benefits
It has been theorised, as early as the 1980s, that people are instinctively drawn towards nature – a phenomenon called biophilia proposed by biologist Edward O Wilson. Perhaps a remnant of our time spent living in forests and caves.
Whether this is completely true or not, there is no denying that spending time outdoors can be incredibly beneficial – some would say even needed. Likewise, children should spend as much time as they can outdoors, as that can help their health and well-being – both mental and physical.
Nature is a great stress reliever. It can also make children happier! Oxygen can influence the amount of serotonin in our bodies, so the more children inhale air rich in oxygen, the higher their levels of serotonin will be. And this substance can improve their mood and increase their sense of happiness.
Being in Nature Can Help Prevent Future Issues
Nature deprivation, or nature deficit disorder (PDF), is a phenomenon that refers to lack of time spent in the natural world – especially because of time spent in front of a screen instead (TV, computer, etc). This can lead to depression, loss of empathy and lack of altruism.
Children who spend time in the outdoors tend to show higher levels of happiness and lower levels of anxiety. They also tend to be more attentive, as nature can help to improve concentration. This can prevent potential problems, such as behavioural ones, obesity, irregular sleep, violent tendencies, poor academic performance, low levels of creativity, amongst others.
Engaging with nature, then, is essential, whether it’s a hike to the Lake District mountains, playing sports outdoors or even just taking a walk outside.
Being in Nature Builds Confidence and Promotes Creativity
Playing in nature can make a child more confident in themselves and more self-assured. There is no exact structure in nature, so children are free to explore to their hearts’ content and interact with the environment the way they want to. This means they can explore a small clearing one minute and move on to jumping over streams or discovering insects and other critters.
This also leads to the promotion of creativity in children. Unstructured play lets them interact with nature freely, so they can create their activities and approach their surroundings (and the world) with imagination and creativity.
At Old Hall Caravan Park in Lancashire and near the Lake District, we can offer you and your family the perfect holiday outdoors at our park and its surrounding beauty. You can stay in your very own static holiday home in Lancashire or in your touring caravan and take the kids out for a hike in nature – and let them explore their surroundings at will or spot amazing wildlife!