Outdoor play has improved my children’s emotional well being. I have no data to prove it.
I know it in my heart when I observe my children playing outdoors. I see it in how they have grown in positive ways during our time together as a family.
Outdoor play advocates like Richard Louv support the possible healing benefits of outdoor play for childhood trauma.
It is not understood exactly what component of outdoor play is valuable to children.
Is it being surrounded by the incredible beauty of nature?
Or could it be the wind and fresh air breathed into our lungs and felt upon our skin?
Is it the bonds formed by daily outdoor play with siblings and friends?
Does the natural world make room in children’s minds for beautiful thoughts filled with curiosity, delight, and imagination?
Could the physical health and strength gained by outdoor play calm stressed minds?
Or is it sense of pride when busy little hands work on tasks important to them in an environment they love?
There are countless more possible variables to outdoor play that improve our children’s mental health. Some of those benefits may never be empirically proven by scientists.
There are many pieces that have contributed to my children’s adjustment to our family after adoption , but I know the outdoors has been a big part of the road to healing for my children.