Contact with nature is beneficial for the psychic and cognitive abilities of children

Scientific Evidence Platform Scientific evidence Contact with nature is beneficial for the psychic and cognitive abilities of children

It has been shown that contact with the outdoors and especially with nature has beneficial effects on children’s psychological health. While children in regular contact with nature are less prone to stress, those who grew up in areas with little green space are more likely to develop a psychiatric disorder (depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia).

On the other hand, certain cognitive disorders are prevented and reduced by exposing children to natural environments. Thus, various studies have developed that children attending schools where the outdoor environment is well integrated have a better attention span. At the same time, for children suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder with or without hyperactivity (ADHD), regular activities in a green environment continuously reduce their symptoms and the more “green” a child’s play area is, the less severe his or her attention deficit symptoms are, when they would be accentuated by activities carried out indoors or in urban outdoor spaces.

“Residential green space in childhood is associated with lower risk of psychiatric disorders from adolescence into adulthood.” (2019). C. Engemann. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

“Coping with ADD. The Surprising Connection to Green Play Settings” (2001). Andrea Faber, Frances E. Kuo and William C. Sullivan of Human-Environment Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois. Environment and behavior, Vol. 33, 54-77. Sage Publications, Inc.

“A potential natural treatment for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: evidence from a national study.” (2004). Kuo & Taylor. American Journal of Public Health.


More benefits from contact with nature: physical health benefits

“The Motor-Proficiency-Test for children between 4 and 6 years of age (MOT 4–6): An investigation of its suitability in Greece” (2012). A. Kambas, F. Venetsanou, D. Giannakidou, I.G. Fatouros, A. Avloniti, A. Chatzinikolaou, D. Draganidis, R. Zimmer. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 33.

This article demonstrates that children who go outside daily make significantly greater motor progress than those who stay in class.

“Effects of Short Forest Bathing Program on Autonomic Nervous System Activity and Mood States in Middle-Aged and Elderly Individuals.” (2017) Yu et al., International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

According to this research, spending time surrounded by trees lowers heart rate, blood pressure and levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.

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