The average Children from North America spend in average only 30 minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors and much more time in front of a screen, Which is a dramatic change from only a couple decades ago. The usual families now have limited opportunities to connect with nature or maybe they just don’t take the time to do so. It has been proven that unstructured play out in nature has many benefits for a child development, socially, intellectually, physically and emotionally. Notably children who play outside are more physically active (prevents health issues), are calmer and perform better in school, have advanced motor skills and have stronger immune systems. By being outside in nature, children experience all sorts of different emotions and they are in an environment that stimulates all the senses at once. Outside play and exploration can also develop responsible future citizens who are respectful of their environment.
You don’t have to go far to play in nature, your own backyard or even a park or a playground can be considered being into nature. A lot of people think of National Parks or having to go deep in the woods to be into nature but you can find it closer than you think.
Unstructured Outdoor Activities
- Playing in dirt
- Observing an insect, bird or animal
- Climbing trees
- Jumping in puddles
- Crossing little streams
- Building things with sticks or rocks
- Collect leaves
- Jump from rock to rock
- Build sand castle
- Nature art
I feel like these days, we shelter our children so much and always tell them to be careful when they are out in nature, for some of them, It makes nature scary or even boring since they are so structured about every little movement they make out there. When our children become interested about the outdoor and wanting to explore it more, please let them play and enjoy themselves, let them get dirty, get wet, pick up earth warms or bugs. They need to learn by themselves what nature is all about and try out new things everyday.
Give them time and space, freedom from rules and structure, they need us to let them play.