Citizens of Minnesota, where Moving Minds is headquartered, have been spending a lot more time in indoors than usual. School is canceled. Gymnastics is suspended. Dance classes are scrapped. Music lessons are postponed. It is completely normal to start to feel a bit “stuck.” But, as we embrace our new reality, it is a great opportunity to reconnect with nature.
While shelter in place orders multiply across the country, our leaders have made it abundantly clear that it is okay to be outside—to walk, run, or play in yards. As long as we practice proper social distancing, we are encouraged to keep moving. It’s good for our minds, bodies, and souls. It is also great for learning.
In fact, evidence from hundreds of studies suggests that nature confers many benefits on children’s educational success. For example, Ming Kuo, PhD, a researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, compiled the field’s most compelling research along with her own. According to her, nature reduces children’s stress while promoting their interest, engagement, social connection, and creativity. She also shows that nature improves their attention span, self-discipline, and—unsurprisingly—physical fitness.
Given the evidence in support of nature, I’d say there is no better time to reconnect with the outdoors.
Outdoor Active Seating
At Moving Minds, we are expanding our catalog of outdoor active seating products with hopes of pushing more learning outside. Our Outdoor LearnLawn Sensory Seat features colorful turf that allows students to feel grass between their fingertips while reading or collaborating on projects. Our outdoor HybrED Beanbag Chairs feature long-lasting construction to make that shady spot under the tree a favorite reading nook for years to come.
And while we are still working in to expand in that space, I would like to share a resource that promotes learning while being present in nature and engaging in physical activity. Visit oldnaturalist.com each week for fun, engaging, and easy outdoor activities that you can do near your home. Make nature your classroom!
Explore nature, embrace the world around us, and take the time to see it from a different lens. I think our kids and our families can all benefit from this opportunity to slow down.
Be well, active and engaged.
Matt Levine is the Brand Manager for Moving Minds. He holds an Master of Education, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Iowa State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Drake University. Matt came to Moving Minds in 2018 after working in higher education for more than 10 years, serving time in student life and activities and leadership development programming. When Matt is home and not chasing his two kids Ellie and Will around the yard (who are typically chasing their dog Ruxin around the yard), he enjoys cooking with his wife Anne, and embracing the outdoor activities that Minnesota offers!