From A Child’s Perspective

Most of us remember spending our lazy childhood days of summer playing outside all day returning only to grab a bite for lunch or a popsicle to cool off. We were relatively free to experience our natural world through exploration in a vacant lot, playground, field or stream. We were not afraid to reach out and touch creatures that we found and really observe them up close.  Our only concern was running home before the street lights came on and before dinner was on the table.

Unfortunately, that is not the case for most children these days. It is widely accepted in the medical community that unstructured outdoor play has many physical, cognitive and social benefits. Reduced obesity and stress, higher IQ’s and creativity, less aggressiveness and increased happiness are just a few of the benefits children and adults derive from submersion and immersion in nature. However, most parents are hesitant to let their kids experience this kind of freedom. Concerns over safety, busy schedules and lack of natural areas to explore contribute to this “nature deficient.”

 But, we can still experience our natural world without fear.  Florida still has many areas in which to immerse ourselves. Take some time this summer to get out and enjoy a walk around your neighborhood, visit a local or national park or come and experience what the Sawgrass Nature Center has to offer. You may be surprised what is in your own backyard wilderness.

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