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Winding Trails

Nature has always been restorative for me. If I’m stressed, tired, frustrated, sad, or perplexed, a simple walk through the woods always helped me to process my thoughts, clear my mind, and reconnect with what is truly important to me. I’ve seen the difference being in nature has on my own children–how it soothes and restores them to their happy selves. There are so many benefits to encouraging our children to play and learn outside that I feel it is time to start encouraging schools to integrate outdoor lessons into their curriculum. 

First, there are then many cognitive benefits of free play in nature. Children have better focus and do better in school. Free play encourages creativity, problem solving, critical thinking skills, and self discipline (Burdette & Whitaker, 2005).  Another benefit is simply helping children connect to what they are learning about. This lack of connection, according to Dr…

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