Health Benefits of Naturalization
In addition to the foregoing research results, recent studies provide powerful evidence across many child development domains underscoring the importance of engagement with nature for healthy childhood. Findings suggest that exposure to nature:
• Reduces attention deficit disorder symptoms in children as young as five years old.
• Produces feelings of peace, self-control, and self-discipline within inner city youth, particularly girls.
• Reduces stress in children through contact with plants, green views, and access to natural play areas.
• Increases children’s ability to focus and enhances their cognitive abilities.
• Develops capacities for creative problem solving, as well as intellectual and emotional development.
• Motivates children to be more physically active, more aware of nutrition, more civil to one another, and more creative by experiencing diverse, natural school playgrounds
• Enhances self-esteem, self-confidence, independence, autonomy, and initiative in teens.
• Provides sun protection and skin cancer prevention.
Naturalization increases playground plant diversity, a primary principle for healthy ecosystems. Not only is this good for the environment but it offers environmental educators, teachers, and programmers natural material to work with to motivate learning and help bring curriculum outdoors. Naturalization increases healthy behavior among children by making manufactured play environments more intriguing and visually appealing, thus stimulating exploratory behavior, social interactions, and active play.