The Importance of Playing in the Woods

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Little girl in the wood

A quiet revolution has begun. Its aim is simple – to get our children outside and closer to nature. There is a growing and concerning gap between children and nature. Less than 1 in 10 children regularly play in wild spaces now, compared to half a generation ago. This matters, because nature is good for mind, body and soul.

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Unlike a standard playground, the woods are filled with millions of dynamic parts – things you can pick up and move, elements you can build with or break and endless opportunities for creation. A fallen log can become a jungle gym, a kitchen, an art canvas, a stage, a bus. My own children spent endless hours when they were young collecting fallen branches to built a teepee like fort. They played with it in the yard for weeks until a storm finally blew it apart. Imaginations are alive in the woods and moving faster than most indoor or structured activities make possible.

“Walking barefoot on uneven terrain helps to challenge and strengthen the muscles in the ankles and develop the arches of the feet. It also helps to develop a reflex in the foot that helps prevent toe-walking. The sensations of dirt, sticks, and leaves on the bottom of the feet develop healthy touch senses and furthermore, assist with preventing sensory defensiveness on this part of the body. Running through the woods teaches children to effectively and efficiently navigate their environment, while challenging their balance at the same time.”* Click to read full article.



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