A new report shows dirt makes children healthier and happier.
Studies reveal that children who play outside in the dirt are not only happier, but also tend to be healthier than children who spend most of their time inside.
Dirt is a bad word to many moms, but letting your children get dirty is actually good for them, according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation, “The Dirt on Dirt: How Getting Dirty Outdoors Benefits Kids.”
Fears about dangers lurking in the muck – microbes, parasites and amoebas, oh my! – keep some parents from letting children do what comes naturally, which is to go outside and get dirty.
But here’s a dirty little secret: Children who spend the better part of their free time in the company of their sterile hi-tech gadgets rather than playing outside are more vulnerable to obesity, ADHD, vitamin D deficiency and depression.
There’s a growing body of research that suggests overprotecting children from dirt and germs may actually inhibit their physical health and resilience. Activities children love, such as making mud pies, splashing in puddles and rolling down hillsides are actually a grubby prescription for health and happiness.
Some findings from various reports include:
While common sense sanitation practices like washing hands and using hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available shouldn’t stop, you’ll be doing your children a favor if you encourage them to go outside and get dirty.
Here are some fun – and messy – ideas from the National Wildlife Federation that will let your children have some good, clean, dirty fun outdoors:
Be an Artist
Be a Builder
Be a Biologist
Be a Chef
To check out the DIRT report, and for more outdoor fun ideas from National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There movement, visit www.beoutthere.org.
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