Nature Play & Exploration: The Importance of Outdoor Play
Updated: Feb 21, 2019
In early education, the concept of learning through play has been widely advocated for lately. Universities even have specific courses designed to teach future early educators on the benefits of learning through play. As Albert Einstein once said, “Play is the highest form of research!” While play and exploration can happen within the walls of a classroom or at home, the question is, “Is it enough?”
The answer is unequivocally no. What’s the missing piece to this puzzle? The answer is… outdoor play. Children are suffering through what Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, penned as Nature-Deficit Disorder.
What is Nature-Deficit Disorder? Is simply the belief that children are spending less time outdoors, and as a result childhood obesity and challenging behaviors are at a rise.
“I like to play indoors better ‘cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are.” - A Fourth-Grader in San Diego
(A Quote from Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods)
According to a recent article from the Washington Post, children spend up to eight hours a day in front of a digital screen! Nature play has been declining for years; studies have shown a connection through the lack of time in nature, and how it results in many physical and mental health issues.
That’s why at Kids Academy of Sheffield Lake we make it a top priority to bring the classroom and learning outside throughout the year. Rain or shine…and even snow. We are outside! As the old Norwegian saying goes, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”
Want to learn more about how you can bring the joy of nature exploration at home? Register to hear all the latest researched based information on Richard Louv’s website, Children & Nature Network! Listed below are some other great articles, tips and resources on this topic.
THE UNSAFE CHILD: Less Outdoor Play is Causing More Harm than Good by Angela Hanscom
Dirt is Good: Why the Outdoors is the World’s Greatest Playground by National
Nature-Based Mindfulness for More Calm & Peaceful Kids by Monica Wiedel-Lubinsk
Explore the Great Outdoors with Your Child by NAEYC This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND