Children Playing Outside Laugh More

Fresh Air is Good for the Soul




Child of Our Time, a televised research project co-produced by the BBC and The Open University in the UK, is halfway through its ambitious 20-year mission of tracking the development of 25 children since birth. One of Executive Producer Tessa Livingstone’s studies has found that the more children played, the more they laughed, especially when outside. In fact, children who played the most laughed up to 20 times more than others.

As a child psychologist, Livingstone maintains that it is important to get the balance right between unstructured play and the high level of structured activity, such as music, drama and language classes, which take up so much of the modern child’s time. Children who are allowed to play and explore outside are likely to be more adventurous, self-motivated and better able to understand risk when they grow up, according to Livingstone.

Her research team found the amount of time children are allowed to roam out of their parents’ sight has dropped by 90 percent over the past 20 years. “This is an extraordinary change and it says a lot about our fear of modern life, pedophilia, etc. Children learn two things from this: Strangers are fearsome and dangerous, and it’s dangerous to go outside,” she explains. She also notes other research indicating that children are probably safer from stranger danger when playing outside with other children than when playing online alone.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Eat Right to Sleep Well

Rather than popping a pill, eating certain foods can kick-start hormones that help us get a long, deep night’s sleep.

We Need Clean Waters

Efforts are underway around the country to make polluted waterways clean again and to instill local appreciation for their many helpful roles.

Peter Gros on Preserving Wild Nature

The wildlife expert explains why we should appreciate wolves, snakes and bats and what he finds encouraging about an enlightened focus on wildlife protection.

Running with the Kids

Families with children as young as 5 easily bond when they mindfully run together at a fun pace.

Livable Communities We Love

Across the country, cities from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh to Portland are finding fresh new ways to create engaging street life for residents while eco-upgrading their green spaces, services and infrastructure.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags