In this valuable article, Grow Outside! A call to pediatricians and others to prescribe nature:Helping children (and their families) become healthier and happier, the numerous benefits of time outdoors are shared.
This article is focused on the role pediatricians can play in promoting the benefits to early bran development.
"Dr. Brown points out, for many pediatricians, the strategic pediatric priorities have changed from infectious disease, immunizations and car seats and helmets to mental health, obesity and early brain development, "all of which could be changed by re-connecting our kids to the wonder of nature."
Here is a sample of what the research suggests, and what pediatrics professionals can do:
•Contact with the natural world appears to significantly reduce symptoms of attention deficit disorder in children as young as five.
•Nearby nature, and even a view of nature from a bedroom window, can reduce stress in children
•Older children who spent more time outside were generally more physically active and had a lower prevalence of overweight than children who spent less time outside. (Less is known about the impact on very young children.)
•Children in greener neighborhoods appear to have lower body weight changes.
•Spending time outdoors may help prevent myopia.
•Play in natural environments is associated with young children's improved motor abilities and increased creativity.
•Access to nature nurtures self-dicipline and self-confidence among children, including children with disabilities.
•Natural environments, such as parks, foster recovery from mental fatigue and may help children learn.
•Green exercise may offer added benefits when compared to equal exertion in indoor gyms.
•In hospitals, clinics and medical offices, incorporate nature into the design to help children, and their families, reduce stress and heal.
•The concept of "play," including play in nature, is more compelling and inviting to most adult caregivers, parents and guardians than "exercise."
All of this research is what has lead to the development of nature pre-schools. Schlitz Nature Audobon Center is an outstanding model. I have been honored to partner with this center to develop the newest brain development packet...... Naturally Developing Brains!