Kids Who Spend More Time in Nature Become Happier Adults, Study Confirms

A new study out of Denmark found that living near and spending time in nature is measurably better for your mental health, both short and long term.

The study followed more than 900,000 Danish people from 1985 to 2013 – taking into consideration their education, income, family history of mental illness, and how much green space surrounded them growing up.

KIDS IN NATURE NOW ARE HAPPY LATER ON IN LIFE So, after studying nearly one million people across three decades, they found that “children who grew up with the lowest levels of green space had up to 55% higher risk of developing a psychiatric disorder independent from effects of other known risk factors.”

URBAN GREEN SPACES COUNT AS NATURE The findings indicated that the “higher pace of life and social stress in the most urbanized areas could create a stronger need for restorative environments such as urban green space.”


Kids are naturals when it comes to free play, but it’s always helpful to have a few ideas up your sleeve to combat the inevitable whine, “I’m bored!” The key is to allow your child to use his imagination or direct his own forms of play while you make sure he’s safe.

MAKE TIME FOR DAILY OUTDOOR TIME Make a point to get outside with your child for at least 30 minutes every day. In her book, There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather, Linda McGurk encourages parents and educators to get kids outside no matter the weather. In fact, there are plenty of ways to encourage rainy day play outdoors.

EAT OUTSIDE An easy way to spend more time in nature is to have lunch or dinner outside. As they say, an object in motion stays in motion. In this case, a body outside stays outside. Try foraging for one aspect of the meal or dessert!