Tips to help you connect your family to nature!
Fourth grade students spent a morning on the Grand Mesa National Forest learning to cross-country ski. It isnt as easy as it looks with very different levels of physical coordination but the kids had a great time and learned some endurance skills! Friends of Youth and Nature (FOYAN) promote these types of outings to get more youth outside in Delta, Montrose, Mesa and Ouray counties.
What impact does an early introduction to the outdoors have on who a child will become as an adult, and how they are affected physically, mentally, emotionally—and even morally as they grow up? As it turns out, we can directly connect childhood exposure to outdoor activities with positive long-term outcomes. Time spent outdoors, whether in play, outdoor education, recreation, or even gardening can play a crucial role in building resiliency and have a positive impact on the mental and physical well-being in our youth.
Playing outside helps children use their imaginations to develop creative thinking and problem solving skills. Many outdoor activities require kids to work together and communicate in order for everyone to have fun or to accomplish a common goal. It has also been discovered that a bacterium in the soil increases serotonin in the brain and improves mood. Who knew that getting dirty is a good thing!
The more outdoor time children have the more physical activity they get. Outdoor play promotes physical coordination, strength, endurance, attributes necessary to develop a healthy body and mind. It is an easy and natural way of encouraging physical activity in young people.
As adults, many of us have learned an escape to a special place in nature helps us relax. A visit to our nearby public lands to exercise, walk with a friend, or enjoy the beautiful weather certainly helps us recharge and re-set mentally and emotionally. Our kids need that too! The more time children spend in nature and the greater sense of connection they personally feel with nature, the less likely they are to experience symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, headache, and other physical afflictions. Nature's fix helps them build mental and physical resiliency.
It has been shown that the more time we can get younger generations to spend in the outdoors, the greater sense of connection they will feel with nature, and the more likely they will become involved with environmental stewardship and preservation. We want the next generation to feel ownership towards our public lands and care for our natural resources. After all, we are part of nature. Simple actions such as conserving water, turning out lights, recycling, establishing native plants, talking about the environment, and picking up litter is a great start.
At Friends of Youth and Nature (FOYAN), we believe strongly in both the individual impacts that activities in nature have on each young person, as well as the broader long-term goal of creating another generation who feel strongly about the importance of maintaining and safeguarding our public lands for the benefit of all.
Our goal is to continue supporting programs that have both a personal and philosophical impact on the future of our natural areas, in order that future generations may enjoy these spaces for many years to come.
We would like your support to help FOYAN continue to provide a variety of outdoor experiences for our local youth. In our sixth year as a nonprofit, we have served over 8,000 youth and their families with outdoor activities and environmental learning opportunities. Please consider donating to FOYAN through Colorado Gives on or before December 5th, where your donations will be boosted through the incentive fund. Give Where You Live and donate here to help us make the biggest impact:
Blogs for Winter!
Sleuthing Snow Tracks for Animal Intel
Bundle Up for Winter fun
Cross County Skiing with Kids
Wanted a Few Young Snow Rangers