According to the National Wildlife Federation, playing outside can have a long-lasting impact on child development. Playing outdoors increases fitness levels, and promotes healthy bodies. While outside Vitamin D levels have been known to increase, which is a preventative for future healthy problems like issues relating to bone development, heart disease, and diabetes.
Playing outdoors also has some great social benefits. Studies have shown that within minutes of seeing green space children's stress levels fall significantly. Playing outdoors also benefits children socially, allowing them to form close relationships.
And then dirt comes in. Playing with dirt exposes children to healthy bacteria, parasites, and viruses, that help build a healthy immune system. Children who are rarely exposed to dirt have a higher chance of suffering from allergies, asthma, and other autoimmune diseases. Research has shown that within minutes of children making contact with dirt, their moods have improved, stress has been reduced and anxiety has decreased.
You might be thinking how you can play in the dirt with your children. Luckily, we have a few ideas that you can take advantage of.
1. You can pick a spot where your children can dig. Give them a shovel and a bucket and watch them explore the world of dirt.
2. You can go for a walk in your own yard or take a walk with your children through your neighborhood.
3. Plan a nature scavenger hunt.
These three very different activities will allow you to interact with your children outdoors and explore nature. You'll be amazed at how much your mood will change, from doing something as simple as going on a short walk.
In the celebration of dirt and all the fun it brings along, we are happy to invite to our Dirt Don’t Hurt event. On Thursday May 28th from 10am-1pm, we will explore the wonders of the natural world, and meet a few animals along the way. We can't wait to see you there!
* Written by Melinda Kinnear - Public Relations Intern