By Fredrica Syren a.k.a Green Mom:
Spending time outdoors is a wonderful reminiscence for many of us. I have so many fond memories of learning and playing with my parents and friends in nature. Today, I swear my kids would live outside if I would let them. We’re talking rain, shine, the dead of winter or a painfully hot summer — they just love spending time in nature; and getting them back inside usually ends with a lots of “why” and lots of teeth grinding.
I guess I really should not be to surprised they are such nature loving kids because both my husband and I love being outside. Ever since they were born, they have come along on hikes in the mountains or nature reserves, and have done most of their playing in parks and our garden. Most weekends we go hiking, and in wintertime we spend hours playing in the snow. I’m a firm believer that kids need fresh air, time in sun (with sunblock of course) and daily physical activity for their well-being.
There are so many studies that show how nature has therapeutic effects on children. A study done at the University of Illinois’ Landscape and Human Health Laboratory found that time outdoors reduces symptoms in children with ADHD, and found a link between exposure to nature and increased self-discipline in girls.
For me, it’s so great to see how all three of my children connect to nature and how almost anything — ants, worms, mushrooms, flowers, funny looking trees, puddles and ice — can catch their attention forever. I have a library of stones, twigs, leaves and other things from nature that were just so special and had to be saved.
I now have learned that for me to personally survive hours of being outside in sometimes not the best weather, I have to dress warmly; and that I must bring a snack, a drink and a camera, too, of course. My job is to document my kids’ experiences and discoveries.