Health Benefits to Children from Contact with the Outdoors and Nature

In this report, Muñoz reviews literature concerning the linkage between spending time outdoors and health, with a primary emphasis on research related to children. She reviews research and policy related to outdoor use and health more generally and then takes an in-depth look at topics related to children’s use of the outdoors and relationships to their health.

Children and Nature Network Research Volumes:

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Volume 4

Children’s Contact with the Outdoors and Nature: A Focus on Educators and Educational Setting

This section reviews research focused on the physical, mental, and social benefits that contact with the outdoors and nature provides to children. Research is grouped into several main focal areas.

Children and Nature Network Project Grow Outside

This study of American adults’ attitudes towards children’s experiences in nature was based on survey data from 2,138 people who participated in an independently commissioned, online consumer survey in February 2010.

The Great Outdoors Can Help Heal a Generation

In the American Journal of Public Health, researchers have documented that exercise and outdoor play can ease problems in children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and all children. And it doesn’t cost part of a paycheck or use any electricity to get our kids into the great outdoors; just a bit of time, commitment, knowledge of public lands opportunities and leadership by parents. And what’s good for young people is good for adults.

Nature-Deficit Disorder: Do You Have It?

To find out if his students were experiencing “nature-deficit disorder,” Dave Wood, an 8th grade teacher at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C., compiled a survey and asked his students to take it after reading the article Growing Up Denatured.  Try it with your children or students and see if you have Nature-Deficit Disorder!

Nature Deficit Disorder: What You Need to Know

How important is a walk in the woods to a child’s development? It’s one of the most burning education questions of the day, and, according to experts, a lack of routine contact with nature may result in stunted academic and developmental growth.  This article explores what Nature Deficit  Disorder is, how it affects our children and what we can do to stop it.

Interaction with Nature during the Middle Years: Its Importance in Children’s Development & Nature’s Future

A growing body of literature shows that the natural environment has profound effects on the well being of adults, including better psychological well being, superior cognitive functioning, fewer physical ailments and speedier recovery from illness.  This article discusses how school yards and play areas for school age children are designed more for the watchful eyes of the teachers and easy maintenance then to stimulate creativity and exploration for kids.

Natural Learning Initiative Resources:

A Walk in the Park Can Improve Reading Comprehension

Can an excursion around a pond, a stroll through a park, or a hike through the forest improve your child’s reading? You might be surprised! We have no doubt that reading, usually an indoor activity, can inspire children to spend time in nature. If you read outdoor adventure books aloud to your children, such as Gary Paulsen’sHatchetBrian’s WinterThe River, or Brian’s Hunt or Jean Craighead George’s My Side of the Mountain, they may just want to try out their own survival skills in nature for a day or even spend a weekend camping out in the woods.

Is love of nature in the US becoming love of electronic media?  16-year downtrend in national park visits explained by watching movies, playing video games, internet use, and oil prices.

After 50 years of steady increase, per capita visits to US national parks have declined since 1988. This decline, coincident with the rise in electronic entertainment media, may represent a shift in recreation choices with broader implications for the value placed on biodiversity conservation and environmentally responsible behavior.