Videos

Nature and Brain Development

August 2017

Children

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — With video games and social media so readily available, it seems to be harder and harder to pull kids away from their devices. Now a new study is giving parents another reason to get their kids off the couch and into the great outdoors.

Kids and their toys. On average, kids spend over seven hours in front of a screen, but only four to seven minutes having unstructured play time outdoors. Everyone knows that playing outside has important health benefits, but researchers are now saying more green time instead of screen time can be good for a child’s growing mind.

Researchers studied more than 2,500 kids, ages 7 to 10, and found that kids who had more time outdoors improved their short-term memory by as much as 28 percent.

So how can parents make sure their kids are getting enough time outside? Try activities that get kids involved with nature, such as camping, a walk in the park, or a treasure hunt in the back yard. Also, since kids spend a lot of time at school, parents can try pushing to turn an empty lot into a school garden, allowing kids to discover that learning doesn’t always have to be in a classroom.

Green spaces help to reduce air pollution and allergic reactions in children. The EPA has additional tips for parents on how to reduce air pollution in schools. Learn more at https://www.epa.gov/iaq-schools.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Milvionne Chery, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.