With three kids under eight years old, New York City parents Kimberly and Sam Leopold made proximity to nature the top must-have during their recent apartment search. “We spend time in a park two or three times a day,” says Kimberly, who lives in a 750-square-foot South Harlem apartment with her husband and daughters. “Honestly, it’s a matter of survival. The kids are just happier when they can play and explore outdoors.”
And it turns out that a regular infusion of nature—in particular, seeing and being around trees—could help bolster kids’ thinking and reasoning skills, too. A recent British study of more than 3,500 city-dwelling children and teenagers from across London found that having a higher daily exposure to woodlands (basically, places with trees) can help kids’ cognitive development.
The good news is that kids can—and should—get a daily dose of trees and other nature even if your family lives in a city or suburb, says Tim Beatley, founder and executive director of Biophilic Cities, which advocates for future cities in which residents are surrounded by nature.