What are the benefits?
The benefits are many and varied, and have been demonstrated through research. They include:
- A foundation for environmental stewardship
- More creative play
- Improved motor coordination
- Enhanced emotional coping and reduced stress
- Increased concentration and impulse control
- Reduced symptoms of ADD and ADHD
Perhaps the most significant outcome is stewardship. As Ken Finch, President of Green Hearts Institute for Nature in Childhood, says, “Among conservationists, the experience of childhood nature play is nearly ubiquitous.” Research has shown that “… participation with “wild” nature before age 11 is a particularly potent pathway toward shaping both environmental attitudes and behaviors in adulthood . . . the experience is likely to stay with them in a powerful way—shaping their subsequent environmental path."
Source: Nature and the Life Course: Pathways from Childhood Nature Experiences, Nancy M. Wells and Kristi S. Lekies, Cornell University, in Children, Youth and Environments, 2006