You might think that public green space is a luxury in a dense concrete jungle like Singapore, yet our tiny city-state is one of the greenest cities in the world. If you are feeling cabin fever due to prolonged periods indoors during this COVID-19 crisis, perhaps you might want to take your family outdoors for a respite in nature. Besides enhancing your physical, mental and emotional health, being in nature and in the outdoors can expose your child to a variety of opportunities for learning and development. Here are some benefits of being in nature for your child’s educational growth.
Outdoor play is a lot less structured than indoor play and enables your child to design meaningful activities to interact with the environment. As there are several ways for your child to engage with the outdoor surroundings, your child would be encouraged to be more creative and spontaneous with regard to the environment.
Myopia or nearsightedness can be worsened when your child spends too much time in front of digital screens indoors. Expose your child to outdoor natural light and activities instead of digital screens that emit artificial light that could cause eye strain and other forms of eye discomfort for your child. Numerous studies have shown that children who spend an increased amount of time outdoors would be less likely to develop myopia.
Your child who participates in a variety of outdoor activities such as rock-climbing or even hiking would have the opportunity to hone his or her motor skills like balance, agility and coordination. Your child can run, walk, jump, swing, swim and throw while in the outdoors. Thus outdoor activities like cycling, climbing trees and swimming strengthen your child’s body and physical abilities. Most outdoor activities would require your child to move his or her body and get blood pumping – instead of just sitting by the couch looking at digital screens.
Even if you are nearby, your child would typically feel a sense of freedom when at the outdoor playground, the park or in the forest. Hence your child can explore the surroundings and figure out what he or she can do in various environments. Such situations encourage your child to become more confident as time passes.
A clear blue lake, a lush verdant field and a cascading waterfall are natural landscapes where your child can simply marvel at Nature and ask thought-provoking questions like “Where does the waterfall come from?” Even naturally occurring phenomena in your garden such as a wilting plant can be food for conversations and learning between you and your child.
At first glance, being outdoors might seem less stimulating than your child’s video games. However the reality is that Nature stimulates all five senses – the senses of smell, hearing, taste, sight and touch. Being exposed to the wonders of Nature and having the five senses activated would only enrich your child’s growth experience.
Encourage your child to do outdoor activities like gardening and entrust him or her to water the plants in order to inculcate a sense of responsibility. For instance, if your child fails to water the plants, the plants would wither and die.
If you think that spending time outdoors would distract your child from academic studies, think again. Many real-life examples and studies have proven that outdoor learning enhances children’s academic interests and therefore grades in school. This is because outdoor learning engages children’s five senses and motivates them to even collaborate among their peers to draw conclusions from their surroundings. Such collaboration and sensory stimuli provided by the outdoors would greatly complement whatever your child encounters in textbooks.
There are certainly many benefits your child can gain from simply being outdoors. Despite being a small island-nation, Singapore has a variety of green spaces and outdoor activities for your child to participate in! Sign your child up for some fun-filled activities with The Little Rangers Outdoor Club this upcoming holidays!
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