Benefits of outdoor activities in the psychosocial development of our children
Many parents complain that their children spend too much time in front of the computer, TV and video games. These activities, although their favorites, greatly limit their learning experiences.
In these types of activities, the child is often a passive recipient of stimuli from the audiovisual media and therefore experiences a limited repertoire of emotional and intellectual responses.
Most games and programs prevent children from interacting with others by performing these activities alone, and they have fewer opportunities to create or imagine because everything is given to them. One of the most significant aspects is that they have access to values, sometimes contradictory to those we want them to learn.
This does not mean that we should limit one hundred percent the access to these diversions, but that we have to generate alternatives that are more educational and enriching. A great option for our children is outdoor activities.
Those playful activities that are carried out in the natural environment (team games, sports, excursions…) imply for children and young people the development of a set of skills necessary for their psychosocial development.
On the one hand, these types of activities require interaction with other people. The child or adolescent develops adequately in the relationship with others, learns to regulate their emotions, to relate, to talk, to resolve conflicts, to create affective bonds, to know the rules of the functioning of society, to establish family ties…
Outdoor activities provide a rich variety of sensory and emotional experiences. Generally, the five senses are activated: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. The atmosphere of cities and daily routines take us away from varied and stimulating sensory experiences for the development of our senses that provide well-being and relaxation.
Contact with nature makes it easier for us to disconnect from problems, for our perception to be in external stimulation and for us to be less concerned about our concerns.
We live in the world of haste and making contact with the natural environment and the sensations that it offers, such as the breeze on our faces, the smell of flowers, beautiful scenery …, makes us connect with the here and now. Stopping to enjoy these basic emotions helps us to relax.
The amount of emotional experiences our children have will provide them with a guide of knowledge about themselves and more tools for self-control. We must emphasize that experiencing positive and relaxing emotions opens the door to learning and prevents boredom or apathy.
On the other hand, they allow the exploration of one’s own competences and limitations, and make the acquisition of skills possible. Physical activity is very important for the balance of our organism, it relieves tension, provides greater control of oneself and provokes feelings of euphoria and happiness. Outdoor educational experiences encourage creativity and the search for solutions to problems or setbacks.
Finally, they open the door to the education of very important values from the direct contact with that reality and from the enjoyment: the care of nature and the planet, knowing how to share, knowing how to win and lose, respecting and loving animals, enjoying the interaction with others, cooperation…
All these elements combined make outdoor experiences an unbeatable educational option. There are multiple options for outdoor recreation. When looking for or selecting an option, it is important to adapt it to the interests and capacities of our children and to promote its realization as a family or with children of the same age.