While you keep your little one learning this summer, take advantage of the nice weather and mix in some outdoor education. Not only will you be able to soak up some sun, but it can be advantageous for your child to learn and play outdoors! Here are three of the biggest benefits that come with education in nature.
Boosts to engagement and retention
It’s easy to assume that learning outside would make kids more distracted, but science shows the opposite is true. A 2018 study of 3rd grade classes found that students were more engaged with class after a lesson in a natural environment. One notable statistic from the study showed that, during indoor instruction that followed outdoor learning, the number of times teachers had to stop instruction and refocus students to get them back on task fell to half of normal rates!
Learning outdoors also helps students retain what they’ve learned. In a study of Swedish high school students learning biology, the students who had six lessons outside remembered the material better than those who only had one or two outdoor classes.
Better health and lower stress
It’s no secret that exposure to nature is good for you, but it’s surprising just how many health benefits can stem from going outside. Scientific studies have found evidence that contact with nature can promote better sleep and improve immune system function, which are critical for growing learners. Another effect is that natural environments lower stress, so if you’re trying to help your child become more resilient, outdoor learning can be valuable.
To many kids, being outdoors is just more exciting. In the aforementioned study of Swedish highschoolers, the students reported enjoying their classes a lot more when they learned outside. They liked the change of pace from their normal indoor routines, and they felt more motivated to pay attention and complete assignments.
Additionally, learning outside offers many opportunities to make lessons more active. There’s plenty of space to move around, natural materials you can use as learning aids, and plants and animals to spark curiosity! Here are some ideas for hands-on activities to support math skills, literacy, and more.
Next time weather permits, take your child to a park or green space to make their summer learning more fun and successful!