What are your best memories of playing as a child? What were you doing? Were there any adults with you?
It was the beginning of October, at the Health Summit in Uppsala, Sweden, and Mariana Brussoni, a developmental psychologist, was putting these questions to an international audience. With a show of hands, Brussoni wanted to know whose favourite moments involved play outside. At this question most hands went up – being outdoors has clearly been a key part of many childhoods.
Though more rigorous evidence is needed, from the studies that have been done on the topic, there is a “statistically significant positive relationship”* between direct contact with nature – especially during childhood – and personal wellbeing. But as the world grows ever more urban, with 68% of children expected to live in cities by 2050, what kind of outdoor spaces will these children have access to?
(*A number of studies have established this link. This one provides a comprehensive review of the effects on mental health)
Never before in human history have children spent so much time inside, acco…