Have you ever noticed that more time alone outdoors has a tendency to boost your mood? This is nothing random, it's actually a scientific reaction. Kathryn Stevenson, an environmental education researcher from North Carolina State University's Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management says that this kind of connection starts from a young age and can foster a wealth of healthy habits in the future. "There are all kinds of benefits from building connections to nature and spending time outside," she says.
One of these benefits is typically a desire to help the enviornment in the future. By connecting with the outside world from a young age, kids grow up to become advocates for a cleaner earth. Even something as small as a tree lined city street or urban parkground can help a child connect to nature. Solitary moments with these aspects of mother earth can be especially influential in the long-term.
A North Carolina study of over 1,200 children ages 9-12 asked how did the kids like to spend their time outdoors, why, and just general questions about their lives in conjuction with nature. The study found that although each child had different combinations of their favorite activities, each one was cultivating a strong connection to nature. However, the important starting point wasn't just being outside, but having a solitary activity. Relying on themselves for imagination, innovation, and connection had long term beneficial effects.