Year-round Outdoor Play Can Boost Kids' Performance in School

Spending free time outside can particularly benefit a child’s development when pursued year-round.

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Outdoor play in childhood is associated with many soft skills that are important for school success, such as executive functioningExecutive functioning is defined as a set of mental processes that enable us to plan, prioritize, focus attention, filter distractions, and more. These skills are important assets for learning in preschool, elementary school, and beyond.

A recent study from Norway looked at the associations between time spent outdoors during child care and executive functioning. Among children ages 4 through 7, those who spent more time outside during child care performed better on an executive function assessment and showed fewer inattention-hyperactivity symptoms. Further, numerous studies have found that playful engagement with nature in kids under age 12 was linked with improved mental health and emotional regulation.

Read more from Childtrends.org.