We would spend hours unsupervised hiking on trails, climbing trees, walking in the creek, catching crayfish, getting dirty and playing hide and seek. We never got hurt or hurt each other. We respected each other, the creatures living around us and the environment. Despite being without all the modern technology available today, we all grew into smart, independent and caring adults.
Playing outside in nature allowed us to burn off energy, develop our fine and gross motor skills, learn about our natural environment, get fresh air and reduce stress. It also helped us develop important skills in a hands on way such as teamwork, trust and problem solving skills. These skills are not learned while sitting in front of a screen.
There are hundreds of pages of reports with information on the many benefits of children being allowed unstructured play time in nature and the negative effects (both physical and psychological) of children who spend too much time in front of a screen.
As a former teacher it was very obvious in my classroom which children spent most of their time at home in front of a screen compared to the children who had minimal or no screen time. The children who had the most screen time were severely delayed in social skills, language, had difficulty concentrating and were less motivated to learn compared to the children with the least amount of screen time.
So, grab your kids and get outside to play, being in nature is good for adults too!
(below are 2 articles about the benefits of children playing outside in nature)