I just read an article the other day in the Toronto Star about a virtual playground and one of the comments really struck me. It was about how a child is “discovering that a healthy forest needs water to feed the trees, help the flowers bloom and keep the insects, birds and wildlife healthy.” Now this child is not learning this from being outside in a garden or forest but from being inside in a “DigiPlaySpace”. This really bothers me not only as a parent but as a health care professional. Some of you may be familiar with Richard Louv who wrote the book “Last Child in the Woods – saving our children from nature-deficit disorder”. It is a fascinating book. There is more to learning about nature than just the cerebral. It is visceral. Being outside in a real forest is far more moving to our souls, our spirit and our health than any digital manifestation.
There are many studies that show how being outdoors positively affects our health. It has been shown that children that have ADD have an increased attention time after spending time outdoors. It helps them to focus. We know the importance of vitamin D (and if you don’t, check out my previous post here…). In fact the Children & Nature Network have complied a large quantity of research “The Health Benefits to Children from Contact with the Outdoors and Nature”. It covers the physical and mental health benefits of actually being outside – not indoors in some “fake forest”.
So for the sake of your health and your kids – GO OUTSIDE!
Check out the Children & Nature Network for more great information.