Outdoor fun + mindfulness = mental health boosts for kids

How parents can incorporate ecotherapy activities into children’s everyday lives—and improve their well-being

Allison Kenien’s five-year-old daughter struggled with paying attention during remote learning. When online classes started provoking tears, Keinen, a mother of two in New York, knew she had to try something different.

So the pair starting exploring hiking trails, paying attention to things like the smell of a flower or the sound of a bird. At the end of their hike, they’d draw pictures of their favorite finds in a nature journal. “A few weeks later, I saw a dramatic change in her focus and her attitude,” she says.

Kenien’s daughter was practicing an idea called ecotherapy, a mindful way to interact with nature to improve well-being. The idea is to boost mental health by combining the benefits of getting outside—everything from improving kids’ IQs to helping them de-stress—with activities that promote mindfulness.

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