Time outdoors may help kids connect with nature

May 15, 2014
Time outdoors may help kids connect with nature
Small study found that children who often played outside had a greater sense of spirituality.

(HealthDay)—Spending a lot of time outdoors boosts children's spiritual connection with the Earth and the sense that they need to protect it, researchers report.

The small new study included 10 children, aged 7 and 8. According to the authors, a strong attachment to nature was seen in those who spent five to 10 hours a week outside.

"These values are incredibly important to and well-being," researcher Gretel Van Wieren, an assistant professor of at Michigan State University, said in a university news release.

"We were surprised by the results. Before we did the study, we asked, 'Is it just a myth that children have this deep connection with nature?' But we found it to be true in pretty profound ways," she added.

Children who spent a lot of expressed feelings of peacefulness, happiness and a sense of belonging in the world, the investigators reported in a recent issue of the Journal of the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture.

Parents of children who had the strongest spiritual connection with nature spent large amounts of time outdoors when they were children, and many said they believe those experiences helped shape their adult lives and spirituality.

Being outdoors offers children a wealth of sights, sounds, smells and colors, said Van Wieren, who added that increasing use of technology by children could lead to trouble.

"Modern life has created a distance between humans and nature that now we're realizing isn't good in a whole host of ways," she said in the news release. "So it's a scary question: How will this affect our and how are we going to respond?"

Explore further: Playing outside could make kids more spiritual

More information: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines the ABCs of raising safe and healthy kids.

Related Stories

Playing outside could make kids more spiritual

May 1, 2014
Children who spend significant time outdoors could have a stronger sense of self-fulfillment and purpose than those who don't, according to new Michigan State University research linking children's experiences in nature with ...

The health benefits of playing outdoors with friends

May 13, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—How children spend their after-school hours has a big impact on their levels of physical activity, new research has discovered, highlighting the need for children to be given more opportunities to play ...

Time outdoors may reduce myopia in children

July 30, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Increasing time spent outdoors may reduce the development or progression of myopia in children and adolescents, according to a study published online July 20 in Ophthalmology.

Children's TV time is closely linked to parents' viewing habits

April 30, 2014
The amount of time children spend in front of TV, phone and computer screens is closely associated with their parents' own habits, with much higher weekend viewing than during the week, a new study has found.

Parents matter more than they think in how their children eat

March 18, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Helping children learn to eat well can be a challenge. Some children happily eat whatever is put in front of them while others seem to eat like birds and exist more on air than food. A new study by a ...

More time outdoors may reduce kids' risk for nearsightedness

October 24, 2011
A new analysis of recent eye health studies shows that more time spent outdoors is related to reduced rates of nearsightedness, also known as myopia, in children and adolescents. Myopia is much more common today in the United ...

Recommended for you

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

hahaha
1 / 5 (1) May 15, 2014
"Time outdoors may help kids connect with nature"

Wow, I never would've guessed. Good thing we have grant money going toward these crucial problems facing humanity.
Sinister1812
1 / 5 (1) May 15, 2014
Nature is something that few kids these days appreciate. And even fewer adults..

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.