Nebraska Project WILD


Getting Down and Dirty July 23, 2013

Filed under: Educator Resources,Nature Activities,Uncategorized — projectwild @ 2:21 PM

Active children, are more likely to grow into active teenagers. Keeping children and teenagers physically active is important for their overall health and development. Children who climb trees and fences, play on swings and in paddling pools, ride bikes and play ball games stay more physical active during their teenage years, the Otago University study suggests.

We already know that children and young people are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature, with opportunities for children to play free range diminishing. There is a growing body of evidence that nature is important for children’s health. Spending unstructured time playing in natural places, the neighborhood or the backyard positively develops children’s bodies and minds. Scientists are also finding that playing in the dirt, with its friendly bacteria, can boost the immune system as well as help to increase the brain’s “happiness” chemical, serotonin.

Unfortunately, children don’t just go out into nature or the neighborhood the way they used to, and just digging in the dirt is foreign for many children.

In her book “I love dirt!”, Jennifer Ward presents 52 activities for parents and teachers to help to engage their child in the natural outdoor world of their own neighborhood or backyard.

i love dirt

Family picnics, fishing trips, cloud watching, stargazing, mud pie baking, these are must do activities for every young child. “I love dirt” describes many opportunities to get down and dirty. Keeping children active and involved in the natural world may, give them a headstart for staying active when older, growing healthier minds and bodies.


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