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Benefits of Outdoor Learning

There are many benefits to taking learning and play outdoors. For teachers, this printable PDF can go on your classroom door or be given the parents of your students. If you are a parent, it can be given to your child's teacher! It can also be shared with family and friends or put on your fridge as gentle reminder on those cold and rainy days! We hope it helps you and the children in your life spend more time outdoors thereby becoming healthier, happier and wiser! 





“Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart. If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.”


― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder






Benefits of Outdoor Learning:


  • Children who regularly play outdoors have decreased chance of diabetes, heart disease and obesity, and they have better balance, physical stamina and gross motor skills. (O’Brien & Murray, 2007) (Fjørtoft, 2004) (Burdette H.L. 2005)


  • Many children in N.A. are deficient in Vitamin D which can be rectified by more outdoor time and exposure to sun  (Mansbach, 2009)


  • Nature and outdoor play has been shown to decrease symptoms of ADD, ADHD, anxiety and depression


  • Children who are involved in outdoor programs, show improved high cognitive skills and score better on standardized test. They have better focus, problem solving and multi-tasking skills; and are better able to think critically and creatively (Atchley, 2012) (Berman, 2008) (Bartosh, 2003) (Ernst, 2004)  


  • Outdoor learning and play helps children develop a positive sense of self, intrinsic motivation and respect for themselves, others and the environment (O’Brien & Murray, 2007) (Louv, 2011) (Russell, 2013)




Works Cited:

Atchley, R. A., Strayer, D. L., & Atchley, P. (2012). Creativity in the wild: Improving creative reasoning through immersion in natural settings. PloS one, 7(12), e51474.

Bartosh, O. (2003). Environmental education: Improving student achievement (Doctoral dissertation, Evergreen State College).

Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., & Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological science, 19(12), 1207-1212.

Burdette H.L. (2005) Whitaker RC. Resurrecting free play in young children: looking beyond fitness and fatness to attention, affiliation, and affect. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 159:46–50

Ernst*, J., & Monroe, M. (2004). The effects of environment‐based education on students' critical thinking skills and disposition toward critical thinking. Environmental Education Research, 10(4), 507-522.

Fjørtoft, I., (2004) Landscape as playscape: The effects of natural environments on children’s play and motor development.Children, Youth and Environments. 14(2) 21-44

Louv, R. (2011). The nature principle: Human restoration and the end of nature-deficit disorder. Algonquin Books.

Mansbach, J. M., Ginde, A. A., & Camargo, C. A. (2009). Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels among US children aged 1 to 11 years: do children need more vitamin D?. Pediatrics, 124(5), 1404-1410

O'Brien, L and Murray, R. (2007). Forest School and its impacts on young children: case studies in Britain. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 6: 249-265.

Russell, R., Guerry, A. D., Balvanera, P., Gould, R. K., Basurto, X., Chan, K. M., ... & Tam, J. (2013). Humans and nature: how knowing and experiencing nature affect well-being. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 38, 473-502.

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