Why Nature?

Nature Makes Kids’ Lives Better…
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Time spent outdoors is beneficial for all kids. Decades of research show that it’s good for their:

…But Too Many Kids Spend Too Much Time Indoors

Kids don’t spend as much time outdoors as they used to. This is resulting in sedentary lifestyles, reduced physical activity, and increased mental health issues. Further, access to outdoor and natural spaces is not distributed evenly throughout New Jersey. This lack of environmental equity results in a lack of health equity, when children are not given the opportunity to benefit from nature.

Today’s kids spend up to 44 hours per week in front of a screen and less than 10 minutes a day playing outdoors (on average).

Source: Children & Nature Network

American children spend less than 10 minutes a day in unstructured outdoor play compared to seven hours per day in front of a screen (on average).

Source: Sanford Health News referencing Harvard Study

Only 27% of children regularly play outside their homes as compared to the 71% of the baby boomer generation.

Source: Save the Children referencing research done by OnePoll

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Engaging with nature on a regular basis can lower anxiety, strengthen emotional resilience, increase concentration, decrease asthma symptoms and nearsightedness, and correlate to healthier body weight. 

The New Jersey Kids in Nature Coalition was formed with the belief that all children have the fundamental right to safely experience the outdoors and all of its benefits.

Learn More

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Explore Children & Nature Network’s Research Library to access peer-reviewed scientific literature that makes the case for connecting children with nature. Look at webinars and other materials in their Resource Hub.

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Check out The American Academy of Pediatrics review of evidence regarding the relationship between nature contact and children’s health.

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Contemporary Pediatrics cites, “It’s no fantasy that children who play freely in the great outdoors are healthier in body and mind. New studies also suggest that active engagement with the natural environment reduces stress and relieves depression in all ages outdoors.”

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Read an article about how people who spent more time in natural environments as children appeared to have better mental health outcomes in adulthood.

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Nature helps children recover from Adverse Childhood Experiences, including trauma and stress. Learn more with evidence-based resources developed by Children & Nature Network in partnership with Casey Family Programs. 

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