Playing outdoors is wonderful and healthy. Children can move freely and play sports. They experience brain stimuli such as wind, rain and other unpredictable sounds. They learn about nature and meet others. But did you know that the colour children see outside also has a direct and indirect relationship with their health?
Green is a special colour with many symbolic meanings. Although green is not a primary colour (yellow, blue and red are), the colour green is the colour of life. It stands for renewal, nature and energy. Classically, it is often linked to safety, growth and harmony. Because of this, the colour green is often associated with the need to grow and learn, just like the seasons in nature. Therefore, green is also the colour of hope.
It’s no wonder that greenery has a great attraction for people and for children as well. Children love being in nature and outdoors a lot. Playing is for them a way to explore the world. And playing in a green environment provides an extra depth of play.
The green of nature itself, however, also has a function. The relationship between the green colour of nature and health has been studied for years. Research by Roger Ulrich showed that patients who had a view of green trees after gall bladder surgery recovered more quickly than those who had a view of a brick wall. Since then, scientific interest in the influence of the colour green and nature on our health and well-being has increased.
Dutch research shows that people who live in a green environment are more likely to feel healthier. Green appears to have various benefits for young and old. Children who come into contact with green areas, for instance, are 15% less likely to suffer from obesity.
In addition to physical health, more green space also contributes to mental health. Lifestyle-related disorders are on the increase in our society. More and more people suffer from daily, recurring stress (also called chronic stress). The impact of this stress is experienced by increasingly young people, and even children can suffer from this complaint. Children who are bullied, experience pressure at school, have fear of failure or are going through a divorce from their parents, for instance, are also susceptible to health problems.
Research shows that a green living environment can contribute to more peace and quiet. The advantages are that you recover better from stress, become more positive and that your concentration improves. Just seeing the colour green improves the stress hormone level, so more contact with nature and the colour green in your life will improve your mental health.
Green, however, has also other advantages. Since a green environment stimulates encounters between children and people, it indirectly ensures more mutual contact. Children learn from each other and from adults, and children also learn about themselves in contact with others. Not only has seeing greenery has a calming effect, but it can also encourage diverse play. No wonder the influence of a green environment has become so important.
So, greenery has a positive influence on health. And what is learned in the cradle is carried to the tomb... By learning to seek out nature, children are more likely to do so in later life. Besides, children can learn to respect nature, by planting vegetable gardens, taking care of plants or keeping the environment clean.
At our locations, we opt for more greenery wherever possible. We think it's important that children spend a lot of time outdoors and get a lot of exercise. We plant bulbs or herbs, sow flowers, watch animals and discover nature together this way. And we regularly go out. With the children of the group, we walk to the nearest forest, heath or dune. We then play fun games or let the children play freely. With the youngest children, we often go looking for natural play materials in nature. We call this play material Loose Parts and we can play and do craft activities with them.
In short, the colour green is a special colour that justifiably deserves attention. The influence of nature and the colour green on our health is particularly significant. By paying sufficient attention to health, mentally and physically, we can continue to grow, which starts with enjoying together the beauty of every day.