Research Findings on Benefits of the Outdoors

July 25, 2016

  • Children with symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are better able to concentrate after contact with nature (Faber Taylor et al., 2001).
  • Children with views of and contact with nature score higher on tests of concentration and self-discipline. The greener the view, the better the scores (Faber Taylor et al., 2002; Wells 2000).
  • Children who play regularly in natural environments show more advanced motor fitness, including coordination, balance and agility, and they are sick less often (Fjortoft 2001; Grahn et al., 1997).
  • When children play in natural environments, their play is more diverse, with imaginative and creative play that fosters language and collaborative slls (Faber Taylor et al., 1998; Fjortoft, 2000; Moore & Wong, 1997).
  • Exposure to natural environments improves children’s cognitive development by improving their awareness, reasoning, and observational skills (Pyle, 2002).
  • Nature buffers the impact of life stress on children and helps them deal with adversity. The greater the amount of exposure to nature, the greater the benefits (Wells, 2003).
  • Play in a diverse natural environment reduces or elinates antisocial behavior such as violence, bullying, vandalism, and littering, and also reduces absenteeism (Coffey, 2001; Malone & Tranter, 2003; Moore & Cosco, 2000).
  • Nature helps children develop powers of observation and creativity and instills a sense of peace and being at one wit the world (Crain, 2001).
  • Early experiences with the natural world have been positively linked with the development of imagination and the sense of wnder (Cobb, 1977; Louv, 1991). Wonder is an important motivator for lifelong learning (Wilson, 1997).
  • Children who play in nature have more positive feelings about each other (Moore, 1996).
  • A decrease in children’s time spent outdoors is contributing to an increase of children’s myopia (Nowak, 2004).
  • Natural environments stimulate social interaction between children (Moore 1986; Bixler, Floyd, & Hammult, 2002).
  • Outdoor environments are important to children’s development of independence and autonomy (Bartlett, 1996).

This list of research findings providing evidence of the benefits of outdoor experiences for children are from the article Young Children’s Relationship with Nature: its importance to Children’s Development and the Earth’s Future (White, 2004).