Experts are finding more and more evidence that outdoor activities assist children and adults with concentration and impulse control. This not only aids focus in learning, but makes the families happier and healthier. The Conservancy is working to create the next generation of conservationists.
With that in mind, author Richard Louv will host a chat online Tuesday, September 27, at 2 p.m. EST to answer your questions about kids, nature and getting outdoors. Submit a question now, or live during the hour-long chat.
Two researches conducted by child environment and behavior researchers Andrea Faber Taylor and Frances E. Kuo , show that outdoor activity helps children learn better. This is especially true for hyperactive and attention deficit children. It calms down the hyperactivity and increases the ability to focus.
A walk in the park helps more than a walk in a mall, or ‘built outdoors’ , according to Taylor.
As reported in Science Daily, … ‘we can say that as little as 20 minutes of outdoor exposure could potentially buy you an afternoon or a couple of hours to get homework done,’ said Kuo.
Unfortunately, there is not a set formula: One week out camping = 2 days of impulse control and focus. However, former studies show that short times spent in green outdoor spaces improves concentration and impulse control in both children and adults. These children and adults did not have attention deficits nor hyperactive disorders. Surprisingly, viewing pictures of green, open areas helped some participants.
It appears that the more hyperactive children focused better after being in open areas, such as soccer fields, than they did after spending time among trees.
While some of this research was based on subjective observation, other portions were actually measured on psychological testing for hyperactive symptoms. The tests were given after students had been taken to indoor recreation sites and outdoor places like parks. To insure unbiased results, the professional testers were not told where the children had been.
With Tucson schools and the City of Tucson facing serious budget cuts, we must take a second look at priorities. These facts certainly indicate that School sports, physical education, and open areas are a necessity, not a luxury. City Parks should also get a second look. Federal budget cuts should also be examined in terms of green spaces for families, such as Sabino Canyon, Mount Lemmon and Fort Bowie.
Is green space more necessary than formerly thought?