Why Get Youth Outside

Kids exploring Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA

Mason Cummings, The Wilderness Society

America’s children are spending more time indoors and less time in nature. This impacts their health, their communities and our wild lands and waters.

Fortunately, parents, communities and elected officials have recognized these dangers and are coming together to encourage kids to reconnect with our great outdoors. This is a win-win for America’s youth and our lands, so The Wilderness Society is also taking part.

Perhaps the most obvious advantage to getting kids outside is their health. Whether it is physical exercise or mental wellness, there is no question that nature benefits our kids’ wellbeing.  Here are some of the most noteworthy advantages to kids spending time outdoors:

Free and fun exercise

Many big cities like Los Angeles have great urban parks, and also have larger natural playgrounds less than an hour outside of the city-limits. Outdoor recreation is a healthy alternative to TV and video games.

Creates mental and emotional wellness

Numerous studies have shown that nature is a truly healing place. Getting kids outside can enhance social behavior, help alleviate stress, promote optimal psychological functioning and improve recovery from physical trauma. In fact, many youth therapies involve getting kids outside.

Outdoor education

Kids who participate in outdoor education programs demonstrate improved social and stewardship skills in addition to physical and mental health.