Go outside and play!

“Go outside and play!”

This commanding piece of wisdom from our mothers (and generations of mothers before them) applies now more than ever. What would your great grandma have made of a smart phone? What would she have said about a world that prioritizes tweeting teens instead of tweeting birds? Probably: “Put that thing down and go get some fresh air.”

As it turns out, grandma has a lot of research behind her. Countless studies over the last decade have revealed that spending time in nature – even for a little while – can be medicine for the mind and body, can shape the way our brains grow and function, and can deeply (and positively) affect our happiness.

In the Journal of Environment and Behavior (Jan. 2001, Vol. 33), researchers found that children diagnosed with ADHD “function better than usual after activities in green settings and that the ‘greener’ a child’s play area, the less severe his or her attention deficit symptoms.”

A study published in 2015 found that a short walk out in nature helped people focus on their positive rather than negative thoughts.

At 1870 Farm, children are benefiting head to toe from being outdoors. Not only are they reaping the many rewards of outdoor time, but they are also exercising their brains through unstructured, unregulated play. Each time they watch a ladybug spread her wings, they are building their neural pathways, growing their creativity, and nurturing their sense of wonder and curiosity (necessary ingredients to a developing mind).

Every time they encounter a problem (“How do we get the goats back in the pen?”), they are developing real world problem solving skills in real time. Maybe most important of all – they are learning that kicking their heels to make the swing go higher, skipping a rock in a pond, and feeling the soft feathers of a baby chick are wonderful antidotes to the stress of growing up in the modern world.

In other words – at 1870, in just a week (maybe a day!), children come away with the knowledge that being outside is good for them – from head to toe. So what are you waiting for? Go outside and play!

For more information on the benefits of outdoor activity on health and well being, visit:

http://www.erikaslighthouse.org/blog/wild/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mental-downtime/

http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/environment/nature-and-us/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/22/how-nature-changes-the-brain/

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1224 Old Lystra Road

Chapel Hill, NC 27517

PHONE: 919 590-4120

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