There’s no denying that parks offer a multitude of benefits for children and adults alike. Visiting your local park can reduce stress, increase your physical and mental health, and provide a beautiful place to learn about nature. Research has shown that connecting with nature is also beneficial for educating children both inside and outside the classroom. Something as simple as having trees visible outside a classroom window has been proven to improve attention and test scores. Children can benefit from being outside from a very young age and building a relationship with nature is key in their overall development. Taking advantage of local parks in your community is the perfect way to foster your child’s relationship with the outdoors and enhance their education.
A Connection with Nature
Being a kid today looks a lot different than it did just 30 years ago. The majority of time is spent indoors and behind screens, even more so now that virtual school has become a necessity. Making time for your children to get outdoors and away from screens is crucial to development and education. Studies show that kids who play outside are more creative, less aggressive, and have a better attention span than those that do not. It’s recommended that children are allowed at least an hour a day of outside playtime to benefit their development. Children who spend time outdoors and in parks also develop a deeper respect for the environment that lasts well into adulthood. Connecting with nature, whether that’s in the front yard or at a local park, is an important part of daily life!
History is learned through more than textbooks. A variety of parks throughout the state and country are founded on historic grounds. Gettysburg National Military Park is at the site of the historic battle of the same name fought during the Civil War. It is home to several monuments that tell the story of this historic space. Even smaller, lesser-known parks like Rolling Hill Park in Gladwyne can feature the ruins of buildings that once stood where preserved nature now exists. At Rolling Hill Park you’ll find the remnants of stone structures that housed millworkers at the turn of the century. Getting out into these parks and seeing history firsthand is incomparable to classroom learning.
Science is all about cause and effect. What better way to experiment with these principles than in nature? Children use cause and effect from a very young age to learn about the world around them. Nature is filled with ample opportunities to explore, reason, investigate, and discover new and exciting things about how things work. Things like dropping pine cones into a babbling brook to understand physics or digging in the dirt to discover a variety of rocks offer real-time, real-world science for young learners.
Parks are important for a variety of reasons, but assisting in the education and development of our children might be at the top of the list. Supporting your local parks and recreation department and advocating for community parks is one way you can help keep these spaces accessible to and maintained for everyone in your area.