If you have been reading my blog for a while you would have known I have a lovely friend called Sonia who blogs over at Mamma’s School. She also has a beautiful Instagram feed full of lovely images of her fun filled life.
We first met when I was at our local twin club, my twin girls were about 2 and running around causing mayhem!! Sonia walked in with her 2 gorgeous newborn twin boys. I am like a magnet to babies, and I would be the first one in the group to help out when a baby needed holding!! Sonia also has a lovely little lady too, who is about 18 months older than my girls. So we would met up and the girls could play, and I would cuddles little babies! So there our friendship started.
Between us and our busy lives, we didn’t get to meet up as much as possible, but I also knew Sonia would be there if I needed. Often it would be a text to ask some medical advice from her in a hurry! Shes amazing at that! She even diagnosed Lilys shingles through Whatsapp, when the nurses couldn’t when she was sat in front of them.
A year ago Sonia moved from England to Sweden, a move that her family had wanted to do for many many years. I admire her so much for doing this, as it is very brave but they followed their dreams. There are many different reasons why they wanted this move but, one of them was to allow the kids to spend more time in nature, the schooling is more outdoor based and she believes in this so much. I really respect her love for this, and I really wish our schools in the UK would encourage outdoor learning more.
So I asked Sonia if she wanted to write a guest post on her love for nature play, and the reasons why it is so good for children.
Why Nature Play Is Great For Kids
Nature play is the best way of helping our children develop well physically, emotionally, and socially. It’s got all bases covered! I’ve come up with a few reasons as to why nature play is good for our children, and I hope by the end, you’ll be grabbing your wellies and heading out into the great outdoors together.
Nature has a very calming quality. It is known to decrease stress, and increase happiness. It is food for our minds. This is because it doesn’t place any demands on us, but it is still engaging.
Increasing Vitamin D Levels
The natural exposure to light increases our vitamin D levels, which in turn improves our health. It’s vitally important here in Sweden, in winter, that play outdoors in nature continues as the light times of the day are so short!
Nature play is full of “loose parts”. These are things the children can play with that have no pre determined role. This allows childrens imagination and creativity to be used and called upon. They can build, role play, make art, or use things as writing tools. There are no pre defined limits. Take a look at my post on sticks.
Children’s strength and muscle tone are improved as they lift, shift, climb, and move about in nature.
Nature play allows children to get dirty and “hands on” with nature. Research has shown that this exposure to dirt helps increase their immunity (there is more to come on this in a future blog post).
They are allowed to explore and investigate the environment, which leads to stimulation, awareness, and independence.
Playing outdoors in nature increases the physical effort used, therefore promoting a healthier way of living and fitter children physically.
Develop Motor Skills
They will use a wide range of skills, utilising both large and small motor skills – good for development again.
Love For Nature
Immersing the children in nature in such a positive way, helps nurture a love of nature.
Respect For Nature
Being in nature so much, and developing a bond with it is also good for nature. They will grow up wanting to protect it, respect it, and nurture it more having been immersed in it. This in turn will help conserve it more.
Simple Things In Life
Being outdoors in nature helps teach the children to enjoy the simple things in life, and to live in the present moment. It does this while also instilling a sense of awe and adventure. A recent camping trip was enjoyed by all of the family.
Nature play naturally lends itself to more risk taking due to the environment the children are in. We are in danger of raising a risk adverse generation, and this will have further consequences when they are older. By taking risks, they are learning to manage and control risks, and learn about risk management. Otherwise they will not take risks and then be unable to manage risks, or control them. Their development suffers when they are not allowed to take risks as children need it, crave it, and are natural risk takers.
Playing outdoors in nature increases communication skills and negotiating skills. They are able to work together better, enhancing these skills which are another important part of their development.
Problem Solving Skills
This environment also helps their problem solving skills more.
Nature play is much healthier for our children, making them happier, which in turn, naturally leads to happier parents too. It worked a treat when we all needed a break, and headed to the beach.
Thanks for reading Sonia’s guest post, please head over to her Instagram and blog and show her some love!