…because nature is good for us!
Kids who play outside are:
SMARTER | Kids with nearby nature at school do better academically. Long-term exposure to green space is positively associated with cognitive functioning
HAPPIER | Time in nature promotes self-esteem and reduces the risk for mental illness. Engagement with nature is linked with more positive moods.
MORE CREATIVE | Children who play in natural settings play in more diverse, imaginative and creative ways, and show improved language and collaboration skills.
MORE ATTENTIVE | Children who play in natural settings are more resistant to stress; have lower incidence of behavioural disorders, anxiety and depression; and have a higher measure of self-worth.
PHYSICALLY FIT | Children who spend more time outside tend to be more physically active and less likely to be overweight.
HEALTHIER | Children who play regularly in natural settings are sick less often. Mud, sand, leaves, sticks, and pine cones can help to stimulate children’s immune system as well as their imagination.
Yet despite the benefits,
childhood is moving indoors
Americans have become indoor animals. On average, we spend about 90 percent of our time inside buildings and cars.
Today’s children are weaker, less fit and less emotionally stable than previous generations. In fact, experts say this may be the first generation at risk of having a shorter lifespan than their parents.
San Francisco statistics back this up.
We have the most sedentary generation of young people in American history.”—David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General
per day spent in outdoor un-structured play by American kids
per day spent on entertainment media by American 8-18 year-olds
of San Francisco youth are rarely in nature
Low-income, preschool-aged children are overweight or obese
5th graders that met all fitness standards
SFUSD students who felt sad or lonely for at least 2 weeks
There’s work to be done!
That’s why San Francisco Children & Nature has joined the global movement to reacquaint our kids with Mother Earth. We are park managers, public health policymakers, educators, environmentalists, parents and young people. We speak different languages but share the same goal: Cure modern kids of nature deficit disorder.
Nature is powerful—even in small doses. If you don’t have access to big open spaces, smaller bits of nature will do— a yard, a treelined street, an outdoor garden, or a planter.Dr. Nooshin Razani —Center for Nature and Health, UCSF
How much NATURE do we need?
Views of Nature
Simply viewing beautiful natural scenes can result in people being more cooperative and generous to others, even in the presence of strangers. Green plants and vistas reduce stress among highly stressed children. Locations with a greater number of plants, greener views, and access to natural play areas show more significant results (Wells & Evans, 2003).
People who spent just five minutes sitting in nature experienced an increase in positive emotions. (Journal of Positive Psychology)
20 minutes in any urban green space can improve happiness and wellbeing, regardless of whether the time is spent exercising. (University of Alabama at Birmingham) and can enhance concentration abilities in children with ADHD.
2 hours per Week
A large 2019 UK study found that people who spent two hours a week or more outdoors reported being in better health and having a greater sense of well-being than people who didn’t get out at all.
Outside Online | Science’s Newest Miracle Drug Is Free
Hidden Brain | Our Better Nature: How The Great Outdoors Can Improve Your Life
Children & Nature Network | Research Library
Childhood by Nature | How How Much Time in Nature Does a Kid Really Need?
Natural Learning Initiative | Benefits of Connecting Children with Nature