6 Benefits of Enjoying the Great Outdoors with Your Family

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There’s so much beauty out in the world, and many American families are able to develop their child’s sense of wonder and adventure because of the abundance of stimulating parks in the United States. In fact, there are more than 84 million acres worth of parks for public use in America alone. 

In these outdoor spaces, families can create great memories, and getting outdoors has many benefits. A study by Washington State University compiled data from over 300 cases to reveal that children exposed to nature have significantly better health and development than those that aren’t. Just by experiencing the great outdoors together, you get a lot more than simply staying home.

1. It Can Reduce Stress

One of the biggest advantages to being outdoors is how it impacts both adults and children in terms of mental health. You immediately feel more peaceful, so it’s great relief for both kids and parents. 

According to WebMD’s medical review, this is likely because nature lowers blood pressure and the hormone levels that cause stress. It also lessens nervous system arousal, so you don’t feel anxious.

2. It Encourages Physical Wellness

Being outside makes you more likely to do activities that engage you physically, and the variety makes it fun for the whole family. Whether it’s sports, swimming in the lake, or just walking around, every family member can be physically engaged without sacrificing their time together. 

Even if you have family members that can’t or don’t want to exercise, your body can actually get benefits simply by spending enough time outdoors. In a Love Holidays post on US national parks, they quote Dr. Mathew White as saying “every group we could think of [in a study]” was able to gain boosts in their physical wellbeing just by sitting amidst nature for two hours a week. 

3. It Promotes Socialization Naturally

Socializing is good for children as it helps them learn to communicate their needs with their parents, develop their sense of self, and make friends. The outdoors can significantly contribute to this growth in children, especially during an age filled with technology and distractions. 

A study on 12,000 adults, children, and parents led by the Nature of Americans project revealed that time in nature can be inherently social and, more importantly, parents that participate with their children gain the same enjoyment and social satisfaction from the activity as their kids do. Going outdoors as a family is fulfilling for everybody. 

4. It’s a Great Way to Bond

Because of the engagement and relaxation that the outdoors can bring, it’s the perfect time to make fun memories and foster connections between family members. When parents bring their children outdoors, they tend to have an improved mood which makes bonding so much easier. 

In volume 44 of An Interdisciplinary Journal, researchers Dina Izenstark and Aaron Ebata published a study revealing mothers and daughters get along better outdoors than in other settings. In the same study, they note how nature activities can evolve to match children’s age and what kind of independence they need. No matter the age, you can find a way to bond with them in the great outdoors. 

5. The Whole Family Can Learn Better

With screen time becoming an increasing problem for society, finding healthy ways to sharpen your cognition is crucial for both growing children and aging adults. 

In the piece “Nurtured by Nature” by science writer Kristen Weir, studies show that children exposed to green spaces have better cognitive development and self-control behaviors. The same study reveals that adults with access to natural environments have better attention spans, memory, and the ability to switch between mental processes.

Go outside, smell the roses, and your whole family will start becoming sharper. 

6. Nature Helps With Developmental Challenges

If your child is having some developmental difficulties, the outdoors is a wonderful natural solution. Although you may still need other interventional methods, the environment can do wonders. 

For instance, Additude’s pieces on nature and ADHD detail how outdoor activities and time in nature can significantly improve symptoms, especially for young children. Even just twenty minutes in nature resulted in massive improvements in concentration. 

Even if your child has other issues, outdoor time as a family can be the catalyst needed for support and positive change. 

There are so many options for gorgeous outdoor activities in the United States. In our post on ‘Best Places to Visit in the Fall’, you can find 46 spots across the country. They’re great year-round too, so it’s never too late to get out there and reap the benefits of mother nature. 

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