top of page

The importance of growing up outdoors

When I think back to my childhood I remember always being outside

Most of the memories I have of being a child is being outside and being abit of a wildchild .

I remember being 6 and running amuck, and exploring the caravan park in cairns with my cousins where we lived for a while, we'd climb the frangipani trees where we were constantly warned not to eat the sap , - like seriously why would we wanna lick the tree anyway ! I remember climbing the tree house there and my cousin told me to try how good green ants butts taste.- Yes we were weird and yes we did eat them ! I remember swimming under the crystal cascade waterfalls- and sliding down the waterfall rocks in my floaties with my mum ! I remember driving on the back of quads around the caravan park with the owners kids and along the beach were my cousin got stung by a blue bottle .I remember pretending rocks around a pool were my office computers and going camping in the rain, where we would play in the muddy puddles for hours. Each one of these memories are special because they made me feel something real - true happiness !

I have tons of memories like this and so does my husband and one thing they all have in common ?

Each memory was created and remembered to this day by experiencing a real childhood outdoors using my 5 senses

I think a lot of us as grow adults think back to our childhood memories and the ones we truly remember are the ones we had while adventuring outdoors and being like children of the wild. We do not hold onto the memories of sitting inside watching cartoons or those other "boring" ones, of being inside playing video games and on our phones building virtual houses in roblox because They are not real life experiences and they do not stay with us when we grow up ,we instead remember the real life ones . - like building the forts in the backyard out of sticks and sheets , the camping trips with the family and playing with the camp fire, the trying to make traps unsuccessfully , the bike riding ,the tree climbing and the hanging by the tree from your pants upside down ! - yes me, the learning to surf and the hiking trips, the waterfall swimming and the ninja stick weapon collecting , the mud sliding ,the fairy house building and the hanging with the kids from around the block on your bikes, we hold onto all these memories not only because they were real life experiences using our 5 senses but because they were truly fun and made us happy enough to keep them in our memories 20 + years later. When I look back onto my childhood memories, I was very privilege to have got to spend most of my time amongst nature and the great outdoors.

Embracing new generations of wild child's

In our home we have embraced adventuring the wild and been amongst nature with the kids since as long as I can remember , they were all catching waves before they could swim and chasing butterflies before they could walk - as I like to say ! - I want my children as grown adults to look back at their childhoods and have it full of great memories, just like mine. You know the ones that truly made them happy enough to keep with them through the years.The ones were being outdoors as a family , going on the adventures and having real life experiences that involves using their 5 senses ,those real ones that embrace a childhood worth remembering , the ones that make them laugh and feel happy talking about it with their children when they become adults.

I believe parenting comes for being Intune with your child, trusting they are cable enough to climb the tree, to walk the hiking trails ,to hang from the monkey bars and to let them become the Wild Childs of the new generation.

Over the years technology has advanced, WIFI and YouTube have turned our children into little robot humans watching the world through a window. With our urban jungles, indoor culture and never-ending stream of new technology .It seems inevitable that our children and even ourselves are slowly being removed from nature and all the positive benefits being outdoors and nature play bring with it.

The question is will this generations of kids have real enough experiences worth keeping as childhood memories ?

The amount of research on the benefits of outside play and being amongst nature for children's development is huge !

Children don’t just play for fun ,they play to learn. Research shows that playing in any way helps develop core cognitive, social and creative skills, but the benefits of outdoor play for children’s development are infinite. -Outdoor play is any activity or interaction that a child has with nature out in the open air. It’s what they see, hear, feel smell and even taste ( like eating those ants! ) - out there.

Some of the benefits of raising a wild child, and even just letting your child have unstructured nature - based play outside, everyday ,show that:

Children are more creative when exposed to nature; they can use all their senses rather than just sight and sound; they can use their imaginations. Children in nature-based playgrounds engaged in more creative play than children in structured - based playgrounds -They were more alert, better at using their bodies and more likely to create their own games,because in nature based play the child had natural open ended toys instead of tradition one use only ones like that in structured play.

Children who spend more time in nature have more friendships that are based upon inventiveness and resourcefulness rather than physical prowess. Children are less likely to engage in bullying when they play in natural environments

Both children and adults, but especially children, with ADHD can focus better after spending time exposed to nature. The effect has been shown to carry over to school.

Children who play outside are more physically active, which helps prevent obesity, heart disease, diabetes , they are also sick less often because they have higher levels of vitamin D, which in turn strengthens their bones and immune systems .Getting the recommended dose of sunlight also help you and your child feel refreshed and relaxed by helping your body’s melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone that controls your body’s internal clock. And the right amount of it ensures you have a good night’s sleep.

Children who play regularly in natural environments have more advanced motor skills, such as agility, balance and coordination, Children who grow up having regular contact with the natural world are more likely to develop a lifelong love for nature and care to preserve it.When exposed to the natural world children develop a stronger awareness, reasoning and observation skills.

Unstructured outdoor play helps kids learn to take turns, share and develop other positive behavioural skills. These interactions help improve communication, cooperation and organizational skills. Additionally, fresh air and free play reduce stress levels

An optometry and vision science study showed children who play outside regularly have better distance vision than children who are always indoors. Children who play outside suffer less near-sightedness and are less likely to need eyeglasses

Children who play outdoors use all 5 senses which helps them learn and helps with their development Preschoolers, in particular, learn new things through their senses. Think of a toddler’s delight at seeing and patting new animals (sight and feel), stopping at a bed of fragrant flowers to smell and pick (smell and touch), hearing the birds call out to each other while picking up a rock to throw (hearing and touch) or eating a tomato they picked from the garden they helped to grow (taste,touch,sight). On the other hand, children glued to television and electronic devices use only two senses (hearing and sight). This can negatively affect development of perceptual abilities.

lastly but defiantly not all the positive benefits outdoor and nature play have is

Being outdoors makes you more happier !

Outdoor light stimulates the pineal gland. This part of the brain is vital to keeping our immune system strong and making us feel happier. Spending time in nature is also associated with improving mood and happiness. Scientists believe that we evolved to be more relaxed in natural spaces,somehow nature relieves stress and soothes our minds also levels of oxygen in our brain are tied to levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that affects your mood, appetite, memory and social behaviour. Too little serotonin and you can feel depressed – breathing in fresh air can help regulate serotonin levels and promote happiness and wellbeing not only for children but for us to.

Its time you let your little one embrace their wild side- and not try to tame it.

contains amazon affiliate links

Great books on how to embrace a natural childhood include:

You can purchase this from amazon by clicking on the links: