It will be no surprise to any of us that children, especially those living in big cities, are experiencing less and less time in nature. Worryingly, a new study published by Nature Sustainability has shown that lack of access to the great outdoors can lead to a decrease in cognitive development in children and have a long term impact on mental health.
To test how access to green spaces affected children, researchers analyzed 3,568 students, ranging from ages 9 to 15, at 31 schools in London. The study was conducted over four years, with participants being analyzed for their cognitive development and mental health.
The more children were exposed to green spaces such as woods and parks, the higher they scored for cognitive development, according to the study. And the participants accessing more green spaces were 17% less likely to experience emotional and behavioural risks.
We all spent so much more time in the outdoors when we were younger and we can take these life experiences and now share them with our grandkids. Whether it’s fishing, camping, going for a forest walk, riding a bike together or inviting the grandkids to help in the garden, we will be doing far more than just entertaining them. We’ll be helping their little minds develop too!