Outdoor courses for kids
In terms of outdoor activities, think camping, hiking, forest adventures and survival camps. On the Bizibuz platform this mean any activity that will immerse your child in an outdoor education course and could involve structured or unstructured programs.
Why is it important for children to get hot, wet, messy, and commune with nature?
Spending time outdoors is known to reduce stress within minutes as measured by muscle tension, blood pressure and brain activity due to a reduction in cortisol (the stress hormone). It is also associated with lowering depression due to contributing to an increase in dopamine levels (a neurotransmitter). Exposure to sunlight also allows a child’s body to produce Vitamin D from cholesterol in the skin, which in turn helps the body absorb calcium from the intestines and leads to stronger bones.
It is also well established that spending more time outdoors during childhood lowers the risk of developing myopia (nearsightedness) and may delay progression of myopia. The rationale is still not well understood but more natural circadian rhythms, exposure to differing chromatic spectrum of light and just increased physical activity are all potential factors.
Outdoor activities also provide an opportunity for children to stretch their legs, take great leaps, climb trees. This improves a child’s speed, strength and stamina, often in the context of them not even realizing they are exercising. It provides children with an opportunity to learn firsthand about their environment, appreciate the balance in an ecosystem, understand natural forces, or just enjoy the fun of getting messy and building mudpies.
Outdoor activities can be appropriate for children of any age and might include
- for babies: tummy time on picnic rugs and crawling on grass
- for toddlers: running after balls, blowing bubbles and chasing them across the park, jumping into puddles, pushing toys along the footpath
- for preschoolers: hide-and-seek, building outdoor cubbyhouses, searching for worms, mudpie making
- for school-age children: climbing trees, bicycling, playing organized sports
- for older children: hikes, camping, water sports, survival courses