Whether students partake of a class in science, math, or reading, or simply play and create their own games during recess, learning outdoors has been shown to convey certain advantages:
- Invigorated Physical Health
- Enhanced Mental Health
- Improved Learning Outcomes and Understanding
- Stimulated Creativity and Imagination
Consult the full blog post for more information and complete references.
Learning outdoors can have numerous benefits for young children, especially those in elementary school. Research has shown that children who engage in outdoor learning activities have improved physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Here are some of the key benefits of learning outdoors for young children.
Improved Physical Health: Outdoor learning activities can improve children’s physical health by promoting physical activity and exercise. Children who spend time playing and moving outside are less likely to develop sedentary lifestyles, which can reduce the risk of obesity and other health problems (Dowd, 2009).
Enhanced Mental Health: Being outside and surrounded by nature can have a positive impact on children’s mental health. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors can reduce stress and anxiety and improve overall mood (Kaplan & Talbot, 2010).
Improved Learning Outcomes: Children who engage in outdoor learning activities often have improved learning outcomes, including increased attention spans and better memory retention (Burdette & Whitaker, 2005). Outdoor learning experiences also provide opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning, which can deepen children’s understanding of a topic.
Stimulated Creativity and Imagination: Spending time in nature can also stimulate children’s creativity and imagination. Outdoor learning activities provide opportunities for children to use their imagination and creativity in a variety of ways, such as building structures, creating games, and exploring the world around them (Louv, 2005).
In summary, learning outdoors has numerous benefits for young children, especially in their elementary school years. From improved physical and mental health to enhanced learning outcomes, outdoor learning experiences provide children with opportunities to explore, imagine, and grow. It makes sense then to structure curriculum and learning spaces in ways that encourage young children to spend more time outdoors.
Burdette, H. L., & Whitaker, R. C. (2005). Resurrecting free play in young children: Looking beyond fitness and fatness to attention, affiliation, and affect. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 159(2), 170-176.
Dowd, J. (2009). The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds. Pediatrics, 119(1), 182-191.
Kaplan, R., & Talbot, J. F. (2010). The nature fix: Why nature makes us happier, healthier, and more creative. Island Press.
Louv, R. (2005). Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. Algonquin Books.