Why do our children need to go outside and interact with nature

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Why do our children need to go outside and interact with nature

C OWS hibernate in winter, grey squirrels are native to this country, and the fruit of the seven leaves comes from oak (or beech, or fir?). Trees, of course, have such things that can soothe stinging nettles. Or, according to a new survey, a quarter to one-half of all British children are believed to be. You can’t blame them, if there are 64% of the children today, less than once a week, or have never been to a country’s 28% last year, so they have never been to the farm, 21% and 20% of people never climb a tree, to nature also don’t understand.

The TV channel for Eden eight to twelve years old, two thousand people over the age of 2000 years of age or older in the survey, is the latest progress in the study of the past few years a series of similar: more children can recognize a drams, rather than an owl. Most people play indoors more often than outdoors. The distance our children have run away from home has shrunk by 90 percent since the 1970s, and 43 percent of adults believe that children should not be exposed to outdoor play until they are 14. More children are now injured by falls in British hospitals rather than falling from trees.

Is there a problem? In the age of cable TV, DOS, Facebook and YouTube, is it really important to distinguish between a cow parsley or jack’s jackdaw? So, knowing a little about the natural world beyond the screen and the front door is clearly harmless. If you develop a love of nature, then you may care about its survival, which may not be a bad thing.

But a growing body of evidence suggests that the children understanding of nature is not so important, because they happen in nature (and not just in nature, but on ourselves, no adult). Respect of scientists, doctors, mental health professionals, educators and social scientists – began to suggest, when children are no longer out of the natural world to play, not only can influence the development of their personal, but also can affect the society as a whole.

“There’s a paradox,” says naturalist Stephen Moss, a naturalist and author. “Today, more children are interested in nature than ever, they watch on TV, they might stay with my family went to visit a nature reserve or a national trust web site, but fewer people is directly, their friends, this is important: it is not only the nature. ”

Richard Louv, The author of The best-selling book The Last Child in The Woods, defines this phenomenon as a “natural deficit disorder”. He says the relationship between children and nature has been “very profound” in the past few decades, for a number of reasons. Technology is this: obviously the Kaiser Family Foundation (Kaiser Family Foundation) in a recent report found that an average of eight to eighteen americans now spend more than 53 hours a week “the use of entertainment media.

In fact, children are more stressful than they used to be. Leisure time must be spent in a constructive time: after-school activities, tutoring, organizing sports – no time to kick your heels outdoors. Except that the kids never really kicked. “I from eight years old and my friends together,” moss said, 50 years old, “climb a tree, build dens, collect eggs and frog, now parents didn’t even want their children to become dirty. ”

But the biggest obstacle for children today is that this approach (even to the nearest park or abandoned place) is excluded from anxiety. “The danger of strangeness” is the fear of being kidnapped by an unknown adult, which is why most parents don’t allow their children to be unsupervised. A package of media coverage of such events may be relevant; In fact, it’s risky, but it’s tiny – the chance of a stranger killing a child in Britain has hit a million in the 1970s. “A bigger problem, in fact, is a big problem, which is transportation,” moss said. “It has multiplied and it is a very real problem.”

This is a problem we need to solve because the consequences of not having our children playing outside are beginning to feel. On the website childrenandnature.org, Louv cites an extended list of scientific research that points to free game time in the free world – free childhood, perhaps – with a huge impact on health.

Obesity is perhaps the most obvious symptom of lack of this kind of game, but from all over the world dozens of studies have shown that regular outdoor activities in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning ability, creativity, and psychological, mental and emotional health showed significant improvement.

According to a study by the university of Essex this year, a mere five-minute “green movement” can quickly improve mental health and self-esteem, and young people can get the most out of it.

The freedom and unstructured activities of outdoor activities improve the problem-solving ability, focus and discipline. Socially, it enhances cooperation, flexibility and self-awareness. Emotional benefits include reduced aggression and increased happiness. 2005 of the American medical association published a authoritative study concluded that “the children will be more intelligent, better able to get along with others, healthier and happier, because they often have the opportunity to free and unstructured play outdoors.

“Nature is a tool,” says moss. “let children not only experience a wider world, but also experience themselves.” Climbing trees, he says, is to “learn how to take responsibility for yourself, how to measure risk for yourself, and falling from trees is a good lesson in risk and reward.”

Ask people over 40 to revisit their most treasured memories of their childhood games, and a few will be indoors. There are also fewer adults involved. The independent game, the outdoors, away from the adult eyes, is what we remember. For the time being, today’s children can’t cherish memories like this: 21% of children now regularly play outside, compared with 71% of parents.

But the picture is not entirely bleak. In the United States, natural disorders are big news: Ms. Rove gives a keynote speech at the annual meeting of the American academy of pediatrics. The city parks department is working with local health services to provide “outdoor time” for troubled children. Here, says moss, groups such as the RSPB, the national trust and natural Britain are “moving mountains” to bring home outdoor activities. Often, however, it is still what he calls “mediating experience” – determined by adults.

A project in somerset can show the future. Two years ago, somerset, games and participate in service is a children’s charity barnum (Barnardo) with local authorities and more natural environment agencies to carry out voluntary industry plan, it began to put the time and money to encourage children to be independent play in the outdoors. Part of the program is a website, somersetoutdoorplay.org.uk, introduces in detail the state more than 30 sites, from the top of the mountain to the forest and the way to the beach, where children can play without supervision.

Kristen Lambert, who runs the project’s PlayRanger service, said: “our goal is to get kids to experience real free games. “Play that is not set on an adult agenda – in the forest and vacant lot, there is no specific activity in the designated recreation area, no fixed equipment; . Have branches and muddy slope itself is the space of encouraging children set its own challenges, assess their risk and take responsibility for their own actions, have their own adventures, learn from them, learn can’t teach, you should see it.

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