Welcome to this episode examining the relationship between children and nature. Today we eavesdrop on some of our younger ParkBathers as they experience forest bathing in Crystal Palace park. We're also exploring our own experiences of nature from childhood – and how that relationship influences us and changes over time.
We delve into the inevitable subject of how little children spend in nature and while we're not going to demonise screens and technology, we take a stark look at how damaging overuse of screens can be for children’s mental health, their sleep, mood and general wellbeing. (if you want some tips on managing your kid's tech time look up my interview with Dr Fintan Nagal from Series 1)
Kirsten looks at the research suggesting that a connection to nature is our biological imprint - we have an affinity for the natural world. When children spend most of their time indoors, they miss out on that connection and become alienated from nature which triggers a host of issues, depression, obesity, and attention deficit disorder. Kids who have direct access to nature are better learners. Exposure to nature has been shown to reduce stress and increase attention spans.
So, we're going to talk about the sense of awe and wonder being in nature evokes and show you exactly what happened when we took a group of teenagers on a forest bathing walk. You might be surprised at what we discovered - we were !
So listen to Kirsten explain the science behind why children need to develop a relationship with nature from a young age and hear input from our guests this week, Rachel Massey, Ellen Devine, Gary Evans, Sage Fitzpatrick and Andy Shipley.
Don't forget to check out our Bonus Episode with tips to engage your children (and your Big Kids) in fun, creative park-based activities including some fun walks courtesy of the free walking App Go Jauntly.