health knowledge: shinrin-yoku - forest bathing or why the wood does us good
learn math in the forest? no problem!
hello! my name is nathalie dziwok. my partner and best friend is a very agile australia shepherd named mylo, who enjoys exercise and not only leads me regularly over the meadows, but also into the woods. i have enjoyed the walks with my dog ever since i heard of shinrin-yoku - forest bathing, and the effect of the forest on both of us has been twice as intense.
children do not play enough outdoors, these days, as i know from everyday practice at naturheilzentrum bottrop with farid zitoun and christian rüger. when cellphone games tempt them and consoles transport them into virtual worlds, it's hard to get the kids excited about ‘color tag’ or ‘hopscotch’ on the street. it works well up to the ages of seven to eight. at that point, girls will dance in the front yard with flowers in their hair and boys ride their go-karts over chalked-out slopes - or vice versa, of course.
the principle of games consoles & co. – you’ll only remain a customer if you succeed
as soon as digital games enter the kids’ lives, their interests will change. going out seems exhausting for those who have discovered games on their cellphones. age-appropriate games are offered, levels of difficulty can be set. thus, super mario skips more or less effortlessly over the barriers, the characters are attractively designed, rewards are generously distributed.
on your mark, get set, go: cherries eaten, water drunk for concentration
"playing outside" isn’t highly rated for no reason. it teaches us many things that will be important in later life. in order to agree on a game within the group, compromises must be made and disappointments have to be dealt with. the right rules are negotiated and grappled with. explaining the rules teaches us presentation skills. the games themselves promote skill, agility and teamwork. older children serve as role models for younger ones, and emulation accelerates development.
"the old man who lives opposite us is getting on my nerves!"
playing outside is not only more exhausting. contact with the adult world holds additional potential for negative experiences. the neighbor bans fun-filled tag games because the kids are running around his car. a mother is appalled that her rose petals are plucked for a game of ‘princesses'. a bike is damaged during a bike race, which lowers the perpetrator’s pocket money. falling over when inline skating causes pain.
riding into the sunset on pterosaurs
how much nicer the virtual world is. nobody tells you off. nobody cries because their knee hurts or because their own game suggestion isn’t approved. your older siblings aren’t always better than you are. no driver honks the kids off the road. the child is always the hero or the heroine in the digital games world, and it is hard for parents to fight against the desire that children have for positive emotions and experiences.
it’s a funny thing - but then the wood calls
when i was at elementary school age, my mother bent over backwards to force us children into the fresh air. in order to combine the healthy with the useful, we blended forest walks with learning math. you could think that this was completely wrong in pedagogical terms. how can you spoil something as healthy as a trip to the forest with math for your child? the child will never want to go back to the forest in the future.
spontaneous idea for success in school
her goal was the exact opposite. she wanted to use the idyll of the forest to encourage fun with math. my best friend in elementary school had trouble with math, so her mother grabbed a ton of little papers, colorful pencils, crepe tape, a bundle of twine, and we drove together into the forest. there we had to sit down, close our eyes and wait until she called us. in the meantime, she painted arithmetic tasks on the notes and hung them on all sorts of trees.
we then had to connect the trees with the appropriate results by using the twine. tree "6x" was connected to tree "4 =" and tree "24", and so on. after an hour we had laced a tangled labyrinth of twine through which we then played ‘tag’. we rarely had so much fun as we did on a wonderfully sunny day amid nature with corresponding mathematical value added.
enjoy the air and treat your lungs
through my connection with the naturopathic experts farid zitoun and christian rüger from the bottrop-based facility for alternative medicine, i also know today that this afternoon in the woods was not only fun, but very healthy too. because the bioactive substances that are absorbed through the skin from the tree needles, cones and bark, strengthen the immune system. the good air and exercise regulate the blood pressure and reduce stress hormones. so we combined shinrin-yoku with brain training. for those who do not know what shinrin-yoku means - the two youtubers and naturopaths have made a revealing, entertaining, but above all informative video, which i heartily recommend to you as well worth seeing - the term is japanese and means something along the lines of "bathing in the forest". and by the way! the current film will be online on the naturheilzentrum bottrop youtube channel from december 1, 2017.
exercise is good for every child, and also for adults
of course, you cannot always expend so much effort and these kinds of excursions remain rarities. however, it is often underestimated how much parents fight against the overwhelming power of digital technology today. sports courses are booked, weekend trips are planned, and indoor playgrounds are driven to when it rains.
even though we know today that online games have many positive effects. creativity is extensively encouraged, reading literacy is strengthened, technical understanding and strategic thinking are improved, and english is practiced. above all, cognitive abilities are enhanced, as an australian study showed in 2016 [http://www.sueddeutsche.de/bildung/studie-wer-online-spiele-zockt-hat-bessere-schulnoten-1.3113509]. nevertheless, nothing can surpass the inspiring experiences of the real world, and i feel this every time i come home - tired but happy - after a long walk with my dog mylo and lots of games, and it really does us both good.
my reading recommendation on the topic: "did you know: you can lose weight in the forest - without jogging?" hier klicken for the nabomade news.
i would be interested in hearing about what special experiences you have had when you walk through the woods? i look forward to your comments and contributions - maybe even with a beautiful forest photo. stay healthy! sincerely yours, nathalie dziwok.
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