Previous studies suggest that exposing kids with attention deficit disorders to the green outdoors helps improve their concentration in the short term. But those reports were based on subjective questionnaires.
The latest research examines this concept by measuring performance on a memory and concentration test. Performance after a 20-minute walk through a park was compared to walking through a residential neighborhood or downtown area. The improvement after exposure to the natural setting was found to be as effective as stimulant therapy (Ritalin).
While the sample size was small, the study was carefully planned and executed. The researchers don’t suggest it will help everyone, but given that there are no side effects and the exercise could help stem the tide of childhood obesity, why not give it a try. Find a nice park, and go along with the kids if age or safety is an issue.
Take a look at a synopsis (2008) of the research that appeared in this month’s Journal of Attention Disorders.