Elementary school kids hiking

Study links children’s time outdoors to higher creativity, stronger connection to nature

Children in the U.S. spend between 5-7 hours a day looking at screens. 

In a first-of-its kind study, Dongying Li, assistant professor of landscape architecture, led a group of researchers who found that higher levels of nature result in a stronger connection to nature, higher creativity, and enhanced sensory sensitivity such as sight, hearing, and touch, when they become adults. 

The study was supported in part by the Gulf Research Program Early-Career Research Fellowship of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 

Li’s research collaborators were Yujia Zhai of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University; Po-Ju Chang, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, National Taiwan University; Jeremy Merrill, Department of Landscape Architecture, Ball State University; Matthew H.E. M. Browning, School of Health Research and Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, Clemson University, and William C. Sullivan, Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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