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Outside play may make kids more spiritual

A little girl enjoying outside play
A little girl enjoying outside play

Playing outside generally seems to bring the best out in kids. In fact playing outside could make kids more spiritual reported Michigan State University on May 1, 2014. According to new Michigan State University research which links children’s experiences in nature with how they define spirituality, kids who spend significant time outdoors could have a stronger sense of self-fulfillment and purpose than kids who don’t.

In the study kids who played outside five to 10 hours per week said that they felt some type of a spiritual connection with the earth. These kids also felt that their role is to protect the earth. Gretel Van Wieren, assistant professor of religious studies, shares that these values are very important to human development and well-being.

The kids in the study related feelings of peacefulness and some of them believed that a higher power was responsible for creating the natural world around them. These kids also said they felt awestruck and humbled by the power of nature in dealing with such events as storms. The kids also felt happy and shared a sense of belonging in the world. Apparently aesthetic values are also nurtured in kids who engage in free play outside on a regular basis. These kids seemed to develop a deep appreciation for beauty, order, and wonder.

This study has been published in the Journal of the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture. The researchers essentially conducted a limited exploratory study dealing with the origins of children’s aesthetic and spiritual values in their experience in relation to the natural world. The preliminary results which emerged from this study suggest a powerful role of nature in the development of children’s aesthetic and spiritual values.

Playing outside in nature also clearly seems to enhance the physical and emotional well being of kids. It appears there are likely to therefore be positive gains for kids by suggesting that playing outside in nature is good for their well being in body, mind, and spirit. This is clearly an effective a part of a holistic approach to well being for kids.