Most of our campers compare their strolls through the woods as either a trip through an Amazonian jungle or the Garden of Eden, but either way, they know they are deep in the wilds where no one has gone before. It is amazing as the week progresses, the more they explore and the less they scream.
Children are innate scientists and love to experience the sights, scents, sounds, and textures of the outdoors. Nature walks provide countless opportunities for discovery, creativity, problem-solving, and STEM education. Interacting with natural environments allows children to learn by doing and experiment with ideas.
Campers react to these things with anxiety, calmness, surprise, happiness, sadness. The real world isn’t smooth, it has roots to turn your ankle and puddles to soak your shoes and socks. You may come across a dead animal that upsets you. All of these are natural human experiences. Strolling with friends, you might find yourself having unique interesting conversations—conversations much less likely to occur while you’re both zoned in on your phones. The outdoors can make learning more relevant and helps develop deeper interests by exposing campers to more real-life opportunities.
Such activities bring relaxation and reduce stress and anxiety. Scientists have discovered that playing outside calms children who suffer from Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Children who play and spend time in nature have increased concentration and cognitive skills. Additionally, nature stimulates a peaceful state and usually enhances nurturing behavior in kids.
Along with helping mentally, outdoor activities have physical benefits as well. Getting children outside promotes more physically active which supports strength in both large muscle groups and their skeletal structure. Outdoor activities also improve pulmonary and cardiac functions. Walking is an excellent exercise and can be done throughout their lives. It’s also FUN.