Why experts say it’s good for kids to get outdoors and get dirty
Children today spend roughly half an hour a day playing outdoors. That’s half the time their parents did!. Would a bit more time in the fresh air work wonders for our kids? If the research is anything to go by, then it’s a firm ‘yes’.
Dirt: your toddler’s (surprising) best friend
The hygiene hypothesis claims that, over time, western
However, as a consequence of this over-cleaning, we’re no longer exposing children to enough dirt, grime
It works in a similar way to a vaccination. By introducing your child to certain strains of Mother Nature’s bacteria and viruses at a young age, the body is able to
There are, of course, additional factors that are important in supporting the developing immune system; of which one is nutrition.
Nutrition is one of the most easily modified factors during early childhood. The best way to make sure your toddler is getting the right balance of nutrients to support the developing immune system is by offering a wide variety of foods from the main food groups. Young children’s diets should aim to include important minerals such as zinc, magnesium
A toddler milk drink like Aptamil, can be an alternative source of nutrition as they are enriched with ingredients essential to support the immune system, such as zinc, vitamin A and vitamin D. A toddler milk drink should be consumed as part of a balanced diet or can be added to foods or baking as a milk alternative.
Why the great outdoors is so great for kids
Serving up a mud pie or two isn’t just good for your little one’s immune system. Reams of research also confirms time spent exploring nature’s back garden is essential for establishing the foundations of social, emotional and academic learning, as well as physical development.
It strengthens the body…
Vitamin D3 is important for bone and muscle development, but it’s virtually impossible to come by sitting in front of the living room TV. Exposure to sunlight is needed to stimulate the body’s production of Vitamin D3 and there’s nowhere better to catch some rays than the great outdoors.
…and the mind
Being out and about in nature is amazing for kids’ state of mind, with research showing it has a capacity to reduce aggression, stress, depressive symptoms
It helps form their executive function
A well-developed executive function enables kids to plan,
It cultivates creativity
By age 5, 98% of children score at the creative genius level. But by age 10 that drops to just 30%, as
It reduces the risk of poor vision
Sounds unlikely? Well, one study found just an extra 45 minutes a day outside reduced the risk of short-sightedness by 10%.
It sparks cognitive development
Interacting with natural surroundings has been found to improve memory. Plus, when combined with the opportunity of real play (the kind that’s active, physical and self-directed), results in better concentration skills post-play, too.
Bringing the outside into play
Start your own immuno-session
Create a healthy ‘germ exchange’ by
Family dog walks
No furry four-legged friend? Borrow one from a friend and include them in the next family outing. Being around animals helps to mature little ones’ immune systems and protect against things like ear infections, respiratory infections
Old MacDonald's farm, that is! Children who regularly come into contact with farm animals have been found to have significantly lower rates of asthma and allergies.