HOW OUTDOOR PROGRAMS BENEFIT URBAN YOUTH

There are countless studies that tout the benefits of getting outdoors—for both adults and kids alike. But children today are spending less time in nature. This is especially true of urban youth who have multiple barriers to accessing outdoor spaces. A boom in development has depleted green spaces throughout metropolitan areas. Crime-ridden neighborhoods create safety concerns. And even schools do not provide adequate outside time with many students getting only fifteen minutes of recess during the school day.

Time spent in nature has decreased, but mental health issues, attention difficulties and behavior problems are on the rise. Can outdoor programs help to alleviate some of these challenges? Here’s what the experts say are some benefits of interacting with nature:

Physical Health

The most obvious benefit is getting outdoors. It does wonders for physical health. Kids who are physically active are less likely to develop certain childhood diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Outdoor recreational activities are healthy alternatives to sedentary activities such as television and video games.

Emotional Health

In addition to physical health benefits, nature has a healing impact on emotional well-being. It is a safe space where children can navigate social situations, work through stress and trauma and channel energy in a productive way.

Environmental Stewardship

Through interacting with nature, children learn to respect and care for the earth, understanding the connection between us and the rest of the natural world.

Academic Performance

Whether through open-ended play or structured learning programs milford mi, time spent outdoors translates to better time spent in the classroom. There is an abundance of research that shows that ample exposure to nature can lead to greater concentration, increased classroom engagement and improved academic skills.

Providing children, particularly those in urban settings, with more opportunities to be outdoors can significantly contribute to their overall well-being and ability to learn.