We’ve been working hard on the final details of “My Magical Garden” and finally the end is in sight. We will let you know in the very near future when it will be available to buy.
It is so exciting to see it all coming together!
We have been using the book with lots of children and have had very positive feedback from parents about how very insightful it is and how useful they have found it. It’s been great to have such positive feedback.
When the children make their choices there is always a theme going on. It might be that they need time out, more time in nature, more time with other children, nurturing etc… I would say that one of the more common themes at the moment seems to be spending more time in Nature.
I think sometimes our children are so busy with school, homework and after school activities that we forget about making sure they spend lots of time playing outside.
I copied the below from an article I was reading, written by Kelley Ward and wanted to share it with you about the benefits of nature on children.
Benefits of Nature on Children
When children frequently play in nature it provides important benefits to their spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Here are few proven ways children benefit from unstructured outdoor play.
1. Better focus and concentration. When children who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) play outside they demonstrate a better ability to focus, concentrate, and perform. Children who frequently play outside in an unstructured environment have demonstrated higher scores on concentration tests than children who play indoors. These researchers believe that the brain needs time to renew or have mental breaks. The time children spend in nature acts to restore attention opposed to time spend in front of the television or playing video games which drains the attention centers in the brain.
2. Better coordination and agility. Scientists have found that children who regularly play outside have better coordination, agility, and balance. These children develop better motor skills and are less metabolically challenged than children who spend most of the time indoors.
3. Improved memory skills. Memory levels improve when children play outside. This might be due to the extra benefits they receive from vitamin D. Or an improvement in memory could be due to the fact that play in a natural environment heightens the mechanistic ability of the four senses.
4. Physically healthier. When children remain indoors they are not often exposed to the health benefits of fresh air. Infections breed in enclosed environments. Encouraging children to play outside helps strengthen immunity resulting in less sickness.
5. Better prepared for real world situations. When children play in natural environments they learn to improve their awareness to their surroundings, use and navigate the world with heightened senses, and build on their observation skills. Learning in a natural environment helps children handle real world situations better than time spent in front of the computer or time spent playing video games.
6. More imaginative play. According to researchers, children who play outside often have more imaginative play that helps build social skills. When outside children can use leaves, dirt, sand, water, grass, and other natural elements to feel the texture of nature, observe the multitude of colors found in nature, and listen to the unique sounds of nature. Those creative and engaging experiences where children experience an element of surprise as they uncover the “secrets” found in nature cannot be experienced indoors.
7. Better ability to handle daily stressors. Researchers found that when children play outside nature has a calming element which helps children to better handle everyday life stressors. The more children play in nature, the greater the stress benefits are.
8. Better social relationships. Children who often play in nature have better social relationships with their peers. Malone and Tranter found that unstructured outdoor play reduces the amount of bullying behavior.
9. Cultivates a love for nature and for life. Regular contact with nature gives children a love for nature and the environment. We cannot love what we fear. Children who grow up without frequent contact with nature may not possess a desire to preserve nature and protect the environment, when they become adults.
10. Encourages autonomy and individuality. Children who frequently play outdoors have the opportunity to feel powerful. When children play video games they might feel powerful after winning a game or uncovering a hidden or secret passage but this power does not compare with the energized power they receive from overcoming elements found in nature. For example, when children discover how to climb a tree, open up an acorn, or build a sand castle they will anticipate the adventures that await them in nature.