Allowing your kids play out in the open can help them develop a deep love for nature as they grow, a study has shown.
“Developing positive experiences in nature at a young age can influence our attitudes and behaviours towards nature as adults,” said Catherine Broom, Assistant Professor at University of British Columbia in Canada.
In the study, published in the Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 87 per cent of children who played outside as children expressed a continued love for nature as young adults.
Of that group, 84 per cent said taking care of the environment was a priority.
“It is important to study these childhood experiences in order to develop environmental awareness and action in the next generation,” Broom added.
For the study, the team interviewed 50 university students between the ages of 18 to 25. Of the group, 100 per cent of females stated that they loved nature and 87 per cent of males responded the same.
Environmental awareness programmes at a young age can also help develop children’s awareness and action, the researchers added.
“Our findings imply that providing positive childhood experiences in nature, such as outdoor school programmes, may help to develop care for the environment in adults,” Broom noted.
The researchers suggested that schools and early childhood classroom activities should connect positive experiences in nature with mindful learning and reflection that help empower students to take a personal role in protecting the environment by recycling, turning off the lights, and using alternative transportation methods.
“Students need to learn and have a conscious understanding that the decisions we make each day can influence our environment, such as where we buy our food and how we use the Earth’s natural resources,” Broom said.