Getting kids to play outside has plenty of beneficial effects: It keeps a healthy mind in a healthy body and is an antiobesity agent (unless going outside means going to the neighborhood store for junk food). Playing in nature provides a valuable opportunity to learn from the birds and the bees, literally: to see how ants work together to move a stick far bigger than they are; to learn that the boy birds are the ones with bright plumage, not the girl birds; to see a chameleon camouflage itself to avoid detection (a great trick for hide-and-seek games later!). Kids who have experienced hands-on learning from nature do better on standardized tests, and for the wiggly kid on the ADHD side of the spectrum, outside play can be the preferred means of getting those ya-ya's out. Howard Gardner, a proponent of the view that we have multiple intelligences, has proposed the notion of an eighth intelligence: being a naturalist, or having a sense of the natural environment. And going outside with your kids gives you the chance to practice smart parenting, or letting your child "ping" nature and have you express delight and joy in what he discovers (while also remedying your own potential nature deficit disorder).
Find out more about this book:YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade