As the temperatures start to drop, it's hard to even think of leaving the house. But Rebekah Rae, author of the blog "Brothaholic" makes the argument that getting kids outdoors is incredibly important. Even in the winter months!
About the author: Rebekah Rae is a mother of six young children and is the creator of the blog, Brothaholic, which can be found at: http://www.brothaholic.com.
“There must be provision for the child to have contact with nature, to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony and the beauty in nature… so that the child may better understand and participate in the marvellous things which civilisation creates.”
Experiencing the great outdoors is a necessary element to the health and education of a child. In modern society, we have replaced and upgraded so many necessities. No longer are we forced to light fires to cook our food. We do not have to light candles to illuminate our homes. We can entertain ourselves by reading a book or we can just click on the tv or internet. What has not been replaced is the biological necessity for being outside daily or as many days as possible. It is necessary soon after a baby leaves their mother’s womb and the need extends all the way to the grave. Regular exposure to the outdoors is necessary for children’s health, ongoing education and sense of fulfillment.
The major source for vitamin D for human beings is the sun. Skin exposure is necessary during the warmer months. It acts as a hormone to ensure the body performs multiple actions within the body. Children grow rapidly and need vitamin D to prevent rickets and to boost immunity. Sitting near a window is not enough. Getting outside is necessary to get adequate exposure.
Whether it is warm or cold outside, children’s eyes need exposure to the natural light of the outdoors. Natural light regulates adrenal function and the mitochondrial function for each cell in the body. It also regulates hormones, which when out of balance can cause anxiety, depression, hyperactivity and problems with concentration.
Modern science has also discovered that playing in dirt exposes children to soil-based, beneficial bacteria that gives their guts more biodiversity and aids in preventing autoimmune conditions.
“Play is the highest form of research.”
Being outdoors aids babies and children in learning, understanding and appreciating the ebb and flow of the natural world. They learn to experience seasons, seeds, leaves, moon cycles, plant cycles and where their food comes from by being outside. They experience these lessons by touch and sight.
Sense of Fulfillment
When children get adequate exposure to the outdoors, their bodily processes become more resilient. With increased resilience and ongoing sensory experiences, being outside regularly develops a sense of fulfillment within the natural order. When their bodies participate in natural movement and their strength and stamina increases, their play totally occupies their little, developing minds. Being outside aids in greater understanding of their environment and develops a deep sense of appreciation.
“The earth has music for those who listen.”
No matter the season, getting children outside is important, and they can be dressed for seasonal comfort. Even walking down a sidewalk or playing on a patio is very beneficial.
Here is a list of scenic views for outdoor enjoyment and play around the NYC and New Jersey areas:
Wolfe’s Pond Park:
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Rescue: