Importance of children and the natural world

Question #1

For this activity you will explore how good health practices like eating well and getting enough sleep and exercise help keep children on track for developing a healthy body and lifestyle; highlight how children’s experiences in the natural world contribute to their physical development in positive ways.

In the textbook it is mentioned briefly that children are less likely to be outdoors than they were in the past. In recent years, several researchers have examined this issue further and found it to be geographically based. Discuss the following topics:

a. What do children gain from being outdoors that they don’t get indoors?

b. Why is an appreciation of nature important?

c. What are the outcomes of children staying indoors? (contributes to obesity, limits environmental awareness, decreases attention span)

d. What different types of outdoor activities would benefit children?

Question #2

In addition, Berman, Jonides, and Kaplan (2008) carried out a simple experiment you can replicate. In this experiment, participants are administered the digit span backward test: the tester says increasingly long chains of numbers and each time the participant must say them backward; for example, 1–4: 4–1; 5–7–2: 2–7–5; 8–3–1–7: 7–1–3–8. After this, each person is shown photos of either 50 nature scenes or 50 urban scenes for about 7 seconds each. Each person is then tested again on the digit backward test. Was performance better for those who saw the pictures of nature? Describe how exposure to the natural world may contribute to this experiment. 

Below are the articles and experiments that may support your knowledge: 

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

· Louv, R. (2005). Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit-disorder. Algonquin Books.


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