Researchers in Finland say adding natural elements to playtime can positively affect children’s immune systems and micro biomes.
According to a study published in the journal “Science Advances”, kids who played in the dirt had stimulated pathways that regulated their immune system.
The study consisted of 75 kids being split up and sent to different day cares: nature-oriented, urban day cares, and an “intervention” day care.
In the intervention day care, researchers covered parts of the gravel play yards with forest floor and sod, along with planters for growing annuals and peat blocks that kids could dig into and climb on.
After 28 days, the kids’ skin was swabbed and their blood was tested.
While more research is still needed, kids who spent time in nature had a lower chance of getting diseases, says Dr. Purna Kashyap, a gastroenterologist and co-director of the Mayo Clinic’s micro biome program.
Other health benefits included lower body mass index and reduced risk of some vision problems.
If you plan to take your kid to a public park during the pandemic, be sure to keep CDC guidelines in mind.
Visit parks close to home, avoid going during peak times and maintain social distance of at least six feet from anyone outside your household.
Most importantly, be sure to wash your hands and avoid sharing toys to reduce the risk of transmitting the coronavirus.
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