“Go play outside!”
How many times did you hear that from your parents while you were growing up? Depending on your generation, it was likely a common refrain—especially in summer.
While our exasperated parents were likely just seeking peace and quiet when they sent us to play outside, it turns out insisting that we get outdoors did more good for us than anyone realized.
A Nature Deficit
Today, however, things are a little different. For many kids, school and extracurricular activities like sports or art eat up a lot of time. For others, there’s no access to safe outdoor space for them to play.
And that means, when it comes to exposure to nature, most American children are underserved. Instead of having the time or ability to play or learn outside, kids are kept indoors or engaged in structured, limited outdoor time while participating on athletic teams.
Kids Need Nature
Over the last several years, studies have shown kids need time in nature. Children who have regular time outdoors do better in school and have better overall physical, mental, and emotional health. Social experiences in nature help children develop a sense of self, independence, confidence, and empathy.
It’s that last one that’s crucial.
When immersed in nature, whether through learning, exploration, or play, children develop a connection to and understanding of their local environment and their communities. Those moments of connection become building blocks of character and purpose as the child grows, staying with them for the rest of their lives.
Nature for All
While nature is hugely beneficial to children, the fact is everyone, regardless of age, benefits from time outdoors. Adults and kids who participate in nature-based activities, whether its hiking solo or participating in a group activity, are overall happier and healthier than those who do not.
Cincinnati Nature Center has opportunities for people of all ages to connect to nature in their own unique way. From child-centered programs to adult-only date nights to miles of peaceful trails winding through forests and prairies, there is a way for everyone to find their place and their personal connection to the natural world.
Go visit and find yours.
Learn more at www.cincynature.org.