Mental health benefits of outdoor play and learning
A new report published by Learning through Landscapes and Project Dirt shows that without children and young people gaining real-world outdoor experiences, they will not be prepared for the future.
The From muddy hands and dirty faces to higher grades and happy places report reveals that children who play and learn outdoors are:
- more physically active, healthier – and attend school more often
- less stressed, and more able to cope with being a teenager and in adulthood
- more creative and can focus their attention better.
The report also shows that in the UK and Ireland 91 percent of teachers felt children were happier after taking part in lessons outdoors and 86 percent saw an improvement in children’s motor skills after playing outdoors.
Despite the clear benefits, only 32 percent of these schools spent between an hour and an hour and a half on outdoor play, and just 12 percent provided outdoor lessons every day.
However, since taking part in Outdoor Classroom Day, 38 percent of schools surveyed increased their outdoor lessons and 19 percent increased their time for outdoor play.
The report is published on Outdoor Classroom Day – a world-wide campaign which calls on millions of children around the world to prioritise outdoor play and learning every day at school and at home. Although it’s half-term in Wales, 540,000 children across the UK and Ireland have signed up to take part.
Cath Prisk, Outdoor Classroom Day Global Campaign Director and author of the report said:
‘It’s time for the outdoors to be taken seriously. The evidence is there – children who play outdoors are more resilient and adaptable and make better decisions … They are happier, healthier and less likely to experience mental health issues.’