There is a growing body of research on how spending time outdoors benefits children’s development beyond the more obvious physical benefits. This research shows that children are more imaginative, creative, and cooperative when they have opportunities to play outdoors. And they experience less stress and are more able to focus their attention when they have opportunities to get outside and connect with the natural world. Spending time outdoors every day in the natural environments has a positive impact on children’s development.
Many children today are very sedentary, and getting them outdoors where they can be active can have obvious benefits for health and fitness. Even when children are involved in organized outdoor sports, they may not have much active playtime and may spend large chunks of time on the sidelines. But when children engage in less structured outdoor play in natural environments, they typically sustain moderately energetic activity over a longer period of time–the type of activity that is particularly important for health and fitness.