Curious how children actually benefit from uninterrupted self-directed play in the outdoors?
What studies show us
Numerous research studies of children who participate in the "Outdoors in all Weathers" programme have shown increased skills in confidence, social skills, language, communication, motivation, concentration, knowledge and understanding new perspectives and ripple effects into the wider community. These findings all show increased health, motivation, self-help skills as well as increased overall academic performance.
Better Physical Health
Greater fitness, stamina, co-ordination, balance, agility, eyesight, they have 80% fewer infectious diseases such as colds, ear, infections, sore throats etc and 25% fewer days off sick when they go to primary school.
Enhanced Mental Health
Mental health benefits ranging from higher self-esteem and happiness and a greater sense of efficacy to reduced characteristics of A.D.H.D, more self-discipline, higher school achievement, and less stress.
Improved Emotional Health
Nature alleviates the impact of life stress on children and helps them deal with adversity. Nature enhances positive feelings about others. Children who play together in nature have more positive feelings about each other.
We now know that the pre-birth to six years is the most critical period in the developing brain. Studies have shown that the developing neurons and the DNA are shaped for their different functions by early life and sensory experiences. Most of the sensitive periods for development including behaviour, language and literacy are in decline or have ended by the time a child turns five or even four years of age.
Safety and Self Awareness
Appropriate risk in the outdoors can minimise accidents. Give children real risk and they rise to it. They learn how to handle it. In sanitised play spaces and children are often less conscious of risk, they have more accidents or take outlandish risks for the sheer excitement of it all. Through encountering risks children learn how to overcome challenging situations, nurturing their character and fostering a sense of adventure, entrepreneurialism, resilience, and self-reliance.