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Posted: 2018-12-06 15:33:00

It creates scenarios in which hardship is experienced without being cruel or unfair to the child.

Kids need to be outside. Fresh air, exercise, and a chance to play freely and imaginatively are crucial ingredients in raising a healthy, happy child. Science supports what parents already know – that outdoor time improves focus, burns off pent-up energy, and boosts the grumpiest of moods. It even raises test scores, which shows that schools should be prioritizing recess, not cutting it.

Nature's benefits don't stop there. Spending time outside also teaches kids to cope with challenging situations, both emotional and physical. It allows for scenarios in which a certain degree of character-building hardship is experienced without being cruel or unfair to the child. In other words, it's a perfect setting for resilience training.

Take a long hike, for example. Over the course of several hours spent trekking along a rough trail, a child may have to go longer between snacks, water, and rest than he or she would normally like. The child will feel discomfort on a level that he or she wouldn't feel at home because it would seem inappropriate to construct it artificially in a domestic environment. I can't imagine telling my kids at home, "No, you can't have water right now. Hang in there for another 10 minutes." But if we were on a final stretch of trail, I'd say, "See that lookout up ahead? We'll stop for water when we get there." Same goes for aching feet. We can stop for a few minutes to rest, find a walking stick, or lean on each other, but inevitably the kids will have to get back up and keep on trudging.

Jacob Baynham, writing for Outside Online, believes that nature is a particularly good teacher when it comes to building emotional resilience in children. He tells a story about his four-year-old son Theo losing a beloved stuffed monkey on a six-mile hike through the Canadian Rockies, and of Theo's ensuing, all-consuming grief. (Losing a toy may seem minor to an adult, but for

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