Why time in nature is the best lesson
It may not come as much of a surprise, but we love being outdoors and we believe there are benefits for everyone in getting out and about as much as possible, especially children. Here we’ve listed our reasons for why we think kids should engage in learning in the great outdoors:
Time in the outdoors helps children learn how to risk assess
Roald Dahl once said, “The more risks you allow children to take, the better they learn to take care of themselves.” Whether they are out at sea on a kayak, trying to balance on a stand up paddleboard, lighting a fire in the woods, or simply playing in the great outdoors, kids learn by taking risks in the outdoors, and figure out for themselves how to stay safe- developing important skills for life.
Children and parents are becoming more risk adverse as our society changes and we shy away more from giving children the freedom to spend time outside or away from their guardians. Time in nature really helps children to make their own risk analysis of situations, even small risks like walking along a fallen tree or jumping across rocks require children to stop and analyse the situation they are in, important skills that need to be developed for those bigger decisions we need to make later on in life as adults.
Outdoor activities Develop kids Teamwork and communication skills
Being outside throws up lots of new challenges that a familiar classroom environment lacks, it’s a new and exciting environment, but there’s no four walls to act as a barrier, this may worry some teachers but studies actually show that teaching outside can help to improve concentration and communication in children.
Outdoor activities are a fantastic way to improve communication and get children working together as part of a team. Nothing gets two people communicating like being on a double kayak together! Even just padding in a straight line requires both paddlers to work together and talk to each other, the best tandem paddlers are those that are constantly communicating and working together toward the same goal- it’s not always as easy as it seems! Tandem kayaking encourages these vital skills in kids in a really fun way.
Being in nature Teaches children how to Problem solve
Shelter building, fire lighting, identifying different plants and trees, using tools safely… Forest School and Bushcraft sessions provide the perfect opportunity to use those brain cells and solve the problems presented to us by mother nature. Nothing makes you feel more at one with the earth than using natural resources to survive the woodland environment!
Foraging Helps children to learn to appreciate nature
It’s so important to instill a love and appreciation of the natural world in our kids – they’re the ones who’ll be looking after the world in the future so it’s our role to teach them and share with them how important looking after our planet is.
Foraging is the perfect way to engage with nature and learn more about it, what’s safe, what isn’t and what we can use for food or medicine – plus it’ll get them eating their greens! Foraging and living off the land is not a new idea, we have always used what nature provides in our diet throughout history and there is no reason why if this is taught sensitively and sustainably we can’t continue to supplement our diets in this way.
Using nature as a tool for learning makes it fun and engaging
There are so many ways that nature can help children learn, teach children how our ancestors used wild plants for medicine, use plants and their geometry to talk about maths and make repeating patterns. Use natural materials to talk about science and create artwork and artefacts using tools to improve dexterity. Talk to children about seasonality and how plants change throughout the year, why these changes occur and what the plant provides during it’s life cycle and how that impacts on the habitats and inhabitants around that plant.
Nature never fails to provide inspiration and information and that’s what children crave! We run Beach and Forest School sessions from our base on Studland beach in Dorset. If you’re looking for ways your children can interact with nature or want to learn to forage as a family get in touch with us to discuss.
Nature Improves childrens mental and physical health
Aside from the obvious physical health benefits of allowing children to run, climb, play and explore in the outdoors away from phones and tablets and other technology, the outdoors allows children to develop their mental wellbeing, become resilient and feel a healthy range of emotions.
There are positives to gain from trying and failing or trying and succeeding in something, we learn from both our mistakes and successes. To come outside of our comfort zone and try new challenges is really rewarding and a great learning curve and confidence boost for children.
The great people at #OutdoorClassroomDay work tirelessly to promote how important time outside is for our school children, If you agree and would like your children to spend more time outdoors, sign up your class or whole school to Outdoor Classroom Day which runs on the 7th of November. Here’s their 5 reasons for why time outside is good for kids mental health.
Don’t take our word for it, find out for yourself! We run children’s activity days, watersports and land based beach and forest school sessions for schools, youth groups and families. Come and see us on Studland beach for your nature fix.!