The Benefits Of Nature Walks For Kids
With the summer holidays approaching, mums are probably looking for opportunities to entertain their kids.
Here’s an idea for you! How about an adventure in the great outdoors. It’s an lifestyle choice that could transform the emotional, mental and physical wellbeing of your family over the course of a lifetime.
Granted, walking in nature will probably not be on the top of your list of things to do with kids during the summer holidays. It’s probably not even on your Childs list. But it certainly should be given serious consideration.
Integrating with nature is highly beneficial for our physical and mental wellbeing. Encouraging your children to embrace the benefits of the great outdoors from an early age, fosters good wellbeing habits as they grow into adults.
Exploring the natural world doesn’t have to cost anything either. Sure, you may want to pay for activities that are more exciting, but there’s also loads of surprising ways to entertain kids on a nature walk that don’t cost anything as well.
If you want ideas and inspiration, check out this article from Sweatcoin. It’s full of great ideas of ways to entertain, educate and get your kids excited about getting into nature.
Walking in Nature Studies
Numerous studies over the past two decades have shown that nature has a positive influence on the mental, emotional and physical health of children.
A 2016 study performed by the University of Derby and The Wildlife Trusts found that kids exposed to the natural world develop more self-esteem. Being immersed in nature teaches them how to take risks, unleash their creativity and gives them an opportunity to play, explore and discover.
The same study also found nature had a calming influence on children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
In contrast, studies have shown that children that stay indoors playing computer games, browsing the internet, watching TV and using social media develop behavioural disorders, ignore responsibilities and don’t perform as well at school.
Staying indoors can also lead to social isolation. Even kids that are active on social media platforms are not immune to experiencing social dysfunction.
How often do you see teenagers talking today without consulting their smartphones?
Socialising v Social Media
Nature walks are a great opportunity for your kids to get together and play with their friends.
By definition, nature is anywhere you can interact with a natural setting. Encourage your children to take advantage of nearby parks and woods – or even the patch of grass in your back garden.
But escaping to the great outdoors is the best option; forests, lakes, hills, valleys. If there is a marina in your hometown, why not suggest a day in the lake with your children – and invite their friends along.
Teenagers that feel stressed by growing pains will recognise the health benefits of being in nature more than younger children. For the little ones, all you have to do is make it a fun day.
Older children may need more of an adventure to persuade them to explore nature. A walk in the woods probably won’t float their boat, but rock climbing or zip-lining will surely pique their interest.
In addition, educate your children about the mental health difference between green versus screen.
Spending too much time in front of a screen has been linked with depression and anxiety. There are more young adults being diagnosed with mental health issues today than at any time in recorded history. There is also a higher rate of teenage suicides.
Whilst social media can help children to expand their vocabulary and develop communication skills, internet platforms have been found to have more negative effects for children than positive.
Cyberbullying, cliques and sexual content distributed through social media channels increases stress, anxiety and depression – especially in girls.
So if you notice your children are lacking energy, have low self-esteem or behavioural problems, Mother Nature is a therapeutic medicine that could revitalise how they feel in the present and be the catalyst for a positive future.