Nature makes you feel good. But do you know all the beneficial effects it can have on children?
Scientific studies and experience teach us that contact with nature has many positive effects. But the latest scientific and educational evidence shows that the effects on children are surprising to say the least.
WWF, 10 things you don't know
WWF has compiled a list of 10 factors that are implemented in children by contact with nature.
Through an infographic, WWF summarises the benefits of nature on the brain and emotional development of children:
- Well-being: frequenting green areas improves mental well-being, self-discipline, reduces depressive disorders and decreases problematic behaviour.
- Prevention: Increased availability of public green spaces promotes the daily physical activity needed for harmonious musculoskeletal development. It also helps prevent cardiorespiratory, metabolic and cancer diseases.
- Sociality: contact with nature encouragespeer interaction and autonomy. It helps learning to manage and contain stress and increases self-esteem.
- Intelligence: growing up in a green urban environment strengthens children 's IQand helps them cope with risky situations.
- Concentration: Medical research has pointed to 'natural doses' as a safe (and inexpensive) new tool in the management of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) symptoms.
- Attention: in children living near green areas the volume of the prefrontal and premotor cortex is greater. These are the brain regions involved in working memory and attention maintenance mechanisms.
- Empathy: restoring contact with nature satisfies an innate need for which one feels fascination and empathy towardsother life forms (E.Fromm and E.O.Wilson).
- Creativity: Socio-biology has shown that children who play in contact with nature are more creative and collaborative than those who live far away from nature.
- Anti-stress: children who play outdoors show less stress and anxiety than their peers used to playing indoors.
- Community: living in greener environments strengthens the sense of 'place' and belonging to a healthy community, a prerequisite for building a sense of advocacy for the common good.
Nature is a precious resource for future generations.
Ensuring that children have daily access to natural environments must be one of the priority objectives of our society. Investing in the future means identifying the levers capable of ensuring the best possible growth and education for future generations, making the most of the resource "Nature".