Children's Mental Health and the Great Outdoors

In honour of World Mental Health Day I thought I would share with you some facts about children’s mental health and the great outdoors. Getting kids active is a big problem in Canada, with a study reporting that only 12% of Canadian children are getting the proper amount of daily physical activity. This is something that needs to be improved greatly and I hope that these tidbits of information will inspire you to get your kids outside and moving!

"When I was young, we walked to school every day, rain or shine-in wind, sleet, hail and snow too. And we spent hours running around outside when school got out.”~ First Lady Michelle Obama

 1. Just a 20 minute walk in nature has been shown to increase the concentration of children with ADHD.

  

2. Children’s stress levels have been shown to fall within minutes of seeing green spaces.

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3. Children who make “direct” contact with soil through gardening, digging for worms, etc. have been shown to have an improved mood, less anxiety, and are more open to learning. So make sure your kids are not just going outside, but getting messy!

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4. Children who play outside are more likely to have control over their aggression

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5. Schools with environmental education programs often have students who score higher on standardized tests of math, writing, and listening.

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6. Having environmental-based education in schools increases children’s results on tests of their critical thinking skills

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7. It has been shown that you are 30% less likely to suffer from anxiety and 25% less likely to suffer from Depression if you have green space within 1km of your home. Something to think about if you are considering moving your family!

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8. Gardening decreases cortisol, a hormone associated with the stress.

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9. 43% of parents in England admit to the fact that they rely on schools to ensure that their children get enough time outdoors

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10. Children involved in a community garden program often had better relations with their parents and other adults.

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Written by Devon MacPherson from #TeamFrankie