The impact of nature on child development
How important it is for a child to have contact with nature
Globally, we are facing the gradual destruction of the natural environment, caused by a diminished appreciation of life forms in nature, which is why the desire to restore man’s connection with nature becomes an absolute necessity. Thus, it is important to become aware of the role that natural environments play in our lives and to act accordingly. If we understand that it is our duty to teach children to love and respect nature, we will be able to plant the seeds of higher awareness and responsible and committed behavior towards the resources of our planet. The gain will be on our side, as we will be able to raise healthy, empathetic and responsible children, who will know how important it is for their well-being to have contact with nature. Here are some of the most impactful effects of a child’s connection with nature on his or her development and growth.
1. Encourages exercise and physical activity
In addition to the fact that it is invigorating to sit outside in the fresh air, the natural environment supports the health and vigor of the body. Sun exposure helps in the absorption of vitamin D, which is especially important in the harmonious growth of children and in the development of a strong immune system. Unlike indoor play, the outdoor play gives the child the opportunity to be more physically active. Climbing trees, running, jumping in puddles, hanging and swinging from branches or bars help children burn calories, sleep better and prevent the onset of obesity. Moreover, this type of play challenges them to consciously take risks, to venture out, and to become more confident in their actions.
2. Develops creativity and imagination
Nature offers endless ways in which children can create various play scenarios and play unstructured. The latter develops many skills, such as problem-solving, team spirit, active listening to playmates, increasing their ability to focus, but also empathy and discernment in decision-making. Although there are studies that prove that today’s little ones spend twice as much time in front of screens as they do outdoors, it’s never too late to teach our children to enjoy real play, which brings joy into their lives and brings them many long-term benefits.
3. Stimulates children in different ways
Although nature seems, in the first phase, less interesting and stimulating than any screen time children resonate with, playing outside enriches them sensory. Outside, they can hear birds singing, they can hear them and even feel the flutter of their wings, they can smell and touch the flowers, and they can learn more easily about everything around them. By integrating nature outings into their play program, they will understand the importance of natural environments in their lives. In this way, they can come to appreciate nature more and grow by loving it and valuing its resources. They will feel enriched by every experience they are involved in, by every encounter with living things, or by every phenomenon of nature. This type of attention is called gentle fascination, which we practice only in nature, as opposed to the directed attention we need in ultra-crowded environments. Therefore, nature calms children and creates feelings of pleasure, helping to reduce stress and fatigue.
4. Determines them to ask questions about what they are experiencing
Observing the cyclicity of the seasons and being in the midst of these changes as often as possible, they develop their critical thinking and analytical ability. We can be very helpful in this journey, and we can actively support children in restoring their connection with nature. It is not necessary to live in a rural environment or take refuge away from urban areas: it is enough to provide children with opportunities to explore the nearby park, the yard in front of the building or even micro-gardening on the terrace of your apartment. Any such contact, even “bringing” nature into our homes, can visibly get children closer to the environment. For example, planting vegetable seedlings, caring for flowers or “cooking” with natural elements can be truly fulfilling activities for the little ones. Not only will this increase their sense of responsibility and self-discipline, but it will also help them become independent and in control of their own actions.
Contrary to popular belief, children, like adults, do not need much to be happy. Although toys, looking at screens and immediate fulfillment of all their desires seem to be the easiest way to their happiness, connection with nature is ultimately the most needed. They don’t need large spaces for creative play – most of the time, a quiet place, some sticks, stones and other elements that are found in nature will guide them toward the most exciting adventures.
We, h4l, thought about all these, and we value the irreplaceable connection of man with nature. We know that a good start comes at an early age, and we have integrated a vision into our residential complexes that highlight people’s need to spend time outdoors. Thus, all our apartments have spacious terraces, of a minimum of 14 sqm, and access from each room to this recreation area. In addition, we chose to have generous green spaces in all our neighborhoods. This is precisely to create airy neighborhoods, with parks and playgrounds for children and low car traffic, to encourage spending time outside.
If you want to make your child friends with nature forever, choose an environment that brings joy into life and that will help them grow harmoniously.