As we launch the latest addition to Wild Play; Natures Newborns, we thought you might like to know WHY we’re doing this?
Wild Play is all about promoting and supporting the health and wellness benefits of being outdoors, for people of all ages. For us, there’s a strong moral purpose about what we do and why we do it.
So, here’s the thing…
Being outdoors is good for both you and your newborn. WHY?
1. It helps to create healthy sleep patterns
Regularly spending periods of time in the natural sunlight aids the creation of good sleep patterns for little ones. According to the 2004 Journal of Sleep Research, babies younger than 13 weeks old, who slept well at night, spent twice as much time in the sunlight than those that did not (NOTE: not direct sunlight!). The lead researcher in the study suggested that this happened because the outdoorsy infants developed their circadian (24 hour) rhythms sooner.
2. Keeps illness at bay
For years, research has shown that babies and children who spend time outdoors are less likely to pick up illnesses, possibly because the non-sterile environment actually boosts the immune system. For years, Scandinavian babies have had nap time outdoors, often in sub-zero temperatures!
3. Helps to create super-smart brains
There is no doubt that access to stimulating environments helps children develop brain synapses; that’s the junctions between the nerve cells in order to transmit signals. Children (even babies) are natural born scientists who compare and contrast what they see and experience around them. As they explore and become aware of stimulating environments this develops their curiosity further.
4. Develops speech, language and creativity
As the digital world continues to develop at a pace faster than we can generally keep up with, it’s becoming even more important to support children with the ability to communicate effectively and be creative. The natural environment is the best resource for colours, sounds, smells and textures to develop the senses….and it’s free! The tiniest of babies being exposed to nature, will develop stronger senses and learn how to articulate what they see and feel around them, initially with facial movements and later through speech and vocabulary. This, in turn, enables children to develop their imagination with the use of what’s around them. According to a 2014 study published in the European Journal of Social Sciences Education and Research, babies have more sensory information to absorb in a natural environment than in a controlled, indoor environment. So, the wind, rain, sunshine and natural smells (either nice or unpleasant) are all good for baby! As a result, early language development is more likely to be enhanced.
5. Improves physical development
Studies have shown that children acquire the majority of their basic motor skills before the age of five — with much of the progress occurring within the first few months of life! In 2014 researchers found that time outdoors helps to facilitate the development of many of those skills… even for babies! The more babies see and sense others engaging in nature, the more they benefit themselves.
6. It’s really good for parents too!
Being outdoors is good for you at the best of times, but especially when little one arrives. Nothing can prepare you for what it’s really like to have a baby and everyone’s experience is unique. For some, the first few weeks and months of parenthood are a breeze, for others it’s very different. Either way, hormones are all over the place, sleep deprivation kicks in and it might be the first time you and your partner have had a proper fall out… over nappies, feeding or who gets up in the night! Going for a gentle walk helps to get things physically back to normal after childbirth (whether you had a natural birth or C-section, your body has been through the mill). Talking to others really does make a difference: realising that you’re not the only one who hasn’t brushed your hair or teeth in 3 weeks and actually, its ok! It’s good to share a few tips with others and learn from each other.
And finally… Remember to keep yourself and baby safe
The majority of paediatricians would agree that taking baby outdoors is a good thing. But being sensible is obviously very important, so, stay out of direct sunlight, dress in appropriate layers, and avoid places where people are known to be ill.
We can’t wait to meet all of the babies joining us for our weekly sessions. So, come and enjoy some lovely walks, talks, sensory adventures …oh and home-made cake as well!