The Benefits of Building a Connection to Nature
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” ~ John Burroughs
At Leadership Academy, we believe in getting people outside to play. Spending time outside and developing a connection to nature can enhance our childrens’ lives in so many ways. Here are just a few:
- It teaches kids to love their planet. Our children are the future stewards of our earth. Before they can become passionate about living sustainably and protecting their planet, they must first develop a pure love for it. Spending time in nature does exactly that – it inspires in our children a love for the world in which they exist, and likewise a fervor for preserving and protecting it.
- It gets kids moving. Outdoor play offers a multitude of opportunities to be physically active. Children can climb a tree, hop rock to rock across a stream, dig in the dirt, chase a friend (or a squirrel!). They breathe deeply and fill their lungs with fresh air. Playing outside can naturally grow a love for movement within our kids, laying a firm foundation for healthy habits as they become adults.
- It gets kids thinking. The natural world is full of amazing phenomena and offers children countless opportunities for exploration, discovery, and problem-solving. The things they experience outside inspire questions and further investigation, as well as stirring in them a sense of wonder. Children learn as they build with mud and rocks, figure out how best to climb a tree, and simply allow the sights, smells, and sounds of the outdoors to fill their senses.
- It promotes imaginative, collaborative play. When kids play outside, they often work together to make up games and rules. They role play and act out stories in an unstructured and open-ended way. This kind of imaginative, collaborative play requires advanced thinking and social skills, lending itself naturally to problem solving, cooperation, and flexible thinking. Children who participate in imaginative, collaborative play will be well equipped to engage creatively and cooperatively with the challenges they meet as they grow and mature.
- It increases feelings of well-being and relieves stress. Being outside is the perfect environment for kids – they can make noise and move about as much as they want to, and engage in forms of self-expression that often aren’t allowed indoors. Nature also has the ability to enhance a child’s sense of peace as she takes time to slow down and dig a hole, watch a colony of ants marching across the ground, or let the creek water swirl around her toes.
- It builds confidence. Outdoor play is often much more open-ended than indoor-play. By its very nature, it presents infinite possibilities for kids. Kids often surprise themselves (and their caretakers!) by how high they can climb a tree or how far they can skip on the rocks across a stream. Watch your child grow in confidence as he chooses how to interact with the rocks, trees, trails and creeks around him.
Why are our camps the perfect place for your child to develop a connection to nature?
The summer camps offered by Leadership Academy connect campers in a special way to nature in general, and to Warner Park and the Beaman Park to Bells Bend corridor specifically, growing in them a true love and affinity for our public parks and for outdoor adventure. These children will grow into adults who advocate for protection of our green spaces and who are passionate about environmental conservation causes. Our nature-based activities teach children outdoor skills through hands-on, experiential education, and everything is easily repeatable outside the camp session when you and your children visit the park.