Study finds “adventurous” playing outdoors leads to better mental health in children

Young boy climbing a tree
Young boy climbing a tree Photo credit Getty Images/MementoImage

In news that shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone, a new study has found that children who play outdoors more than their peers show signs of better mental health than their peers!

Not only did the children show fewer signs of anxiety and depression, the study also found that more adventurous kids also tended to be happier during the first COVID-19 lockdown.

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According to Study Finds, researchers looked at 2,500 parents of children between 5 and 11-years-old across the United Kingdom, and analyzed how many of their kids engaged in “adventurous” play, including climbing trees, riding bikes, or exploring a wooded area.

The researchers specifically pointed out that these activities are often “unpredictable,” and can even lead to a scary or uncertain moment or two.

Sure enough, the kids who engaged in this type of play dealt with less “internalizing problems,” including anxiety and depression.

The researchers concluded that one of the hallmark traits of adventurous play is that it takes place away from adult supervision.

Dan Paskins, Director of UK Impact at Save the Children, says, “Every child needs and deserves opportunities to play.  This important research shows that this is even more vital to help children thrive after all they have missed out on during the COVID-19 restrictions. More play means more happiness and less anxiety and depression.”

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