New York, May 2 IANS | 6 months ago

Take your kid to the park today if you are convinced after reading this. According to an interesting study, children who spend significant time outdoors could have a stronger sense of self-fulfillment and purpose than those who do not.

Kids who played outside five to 10 hours per week said they felt a spiritual connection with the earth and they have a role to protect it, said researchers from Michigan State University.

These values are incredibly important to human development and well-being.

"Modern life has created a distance between humans and nature that now we are realising is not good in a whole host of ways. So it is a scary question: How will this affect our children and how are we going to respond?" explained Gretel Van Wieren, an assistant professor of religious studies at Michigan State.

During the study, children expressed feelings of peacefulness and some believed that a higher power had created the natural world around them.

They also reported feeling awestruck and humbled by nature's power such as storms while also feeling happy and a sense of belonging in the world.

The researchers also measured children's aesthetic values, finding that those who engage in free play outside on a regular basis have a deep appreciation for beauty, order and wonder.

Van Wieren and co-researcher Stephen Kellert from Yale University, used a mix of research methods, including in-depth interviews, drawings, diaries and observation, as well as conversations with parents.

The researchers also found parents of the children who expressed the highest affinity toward nature and the strongest spirituality spent significant time outdoors during their childhoods.

Many of the parents believed such experiences shaped their adult lives and spirituality, the study, published in the Journal of the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, concluded.

(Posted on 02-05-2014)

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