Research shows that modern kids stare at laptops, smartphones, television screens, and tablets at least seven hours a day. Modern kids are more than willing to swap outdoor play for electronic entertainment. While this may seem harmless, the overall impact on their physical, mental, and emotional well-being can be massive. Outdoor play is highly beneficial for kids beyond the physical activity it provides.
So, why should your children play outside? Child development experts recommend outdoor play for children of all ages because it helps them explore and interact with their environment and teaches responsibility, problem-solving skills, creativity, and other essential life skills. Playing outdoors also develops motor skills and coordination. It encourages physical activity, which contributes to healthy weight maintenance, increases Vitamin D intake, builds self-confidence, reduces stress levels, and improves overall health.
This blog post discusses the importance of outdoor play and why your children should be out in nature. It discusses the benefits of getting kids outside and how it helps their physical, mental, and emotional development.
Read on to find out everything you need to know.
Benefit #1: Vigorous Physical Exercise
Children get vigorous physical exercise when they play outside. However, the effect of the exercise varies from child to child. One research found that children are twice as active when they play outdoors than when confined to indoor spaces.
Every ten minutes spent outside results in approximately three extra minutes of moderate to vigorous physical exercise. The positive effect of outdoor play is even more profound among five- and six-year-olds.
Children within this age group are super active and enjoy playing outside. These kids will spend about ten more minutes on moderate to vigorous physical exercise every hour they play outdoors.
Outdoor play is crucial to boosting physical activity levels, which is suitable for your little ones.
Children need cardiovascular exercise for good health. There is also overwhelming evidence that physical activity benefits a child’s cognitive performance in many ways.
However, it is also important to mention that not all children like playing outside. Some kids usually need encouragement and a little push to be physically active. Forcing such kids to go out may not be enough.
So, find ways of making outdoor play fun, engaging, and exciting. Examples include playing games like tag, soccer, or basketball with your child and their friends. You can also create a scavenger hunt for them to take part in.
Benefit #2: Socialization
Outdoor play encourages socialization which is incredibly important for children’s social-emotional development. Your child can practice taking turns and following rules while playing outdoors with their peers.
Outdoor play also provides an excellent opportunity for children to develop critical social skills such as communication, cooperation, empathy, and problem-solving.
When children spend time outside in natural settings, they learn how to interact with each other and how to negotiate. These essential life skills will stand them in good stead for the future.
Benefit #3: Sunshine and Vitamin D
Another benefit of playing outside is that it provides your little ones with the daily dose of Vitamin D. Getting enough sunshine and Vitamin D is crucial for your child’s overall health since it helps their bodies absorb calcium, which is essential for strong teeth and bones.
Kids who fail to get enough Vitamin D are at an increased risk of developing rickets, a condition associated with soft and weak bones.
Spending time outdoors with your little ones is an excellent way of ensuring they obtain the Vitamin D needed to help them stay healthy and strong.
It means outdoor play helps kids’ bodies grow strong; climbing, jumping, and running activities help build their coordination, balance, and muscle strength.
These activities also play a critical role in improving bone density and lowering the amount of body fat.
Furthermore, outdoor play is an incredible way for your children to get the recommended one hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.
Scientific studies show that outdoor play can improve their attention span, increase creativity, and reduce stress.
Benefit #4: Creativity and Imagination
Outdoor play also allows your child to express their creativity, imagination, and curiosity. Nature provides an ideal setting for kids to explore and interact with their environment in various ways.
For example, they can build a treehouse or create structures with sticks and stones. They can also create beautiful artwork by collecting natural items like leaves, rocks, and flowers.
These activities allow kids to use their imagination unexpectedly, something that does not happen when playing indoors.
Kids that engage in outdoor play tend to be more creative and imaginative than those who spend most of their time indoors.
Benefit #5: Teaches Children to Be Independent
When your child plays outside, they get the rare opportunity to explore different things and experiment in their way.
The freedom accorded to them outdoors encourages them to be more independent and to think for themselves.
They encounter different challenges and develop solutions that boost their problem-solving skills. Furthermore, they have to figure out how to navigate the environment around them and overcome different challenges.
Playing outside fosters a sense of independence and self-reliance because they learn to take risks and explore different things without the constant supervision of their seniors. They become independent thinkers and doers even as they gain confidence in their natural abilities.
The modern world is highly complex and requires children to be independent thinkers and self-sufficient.
Outdoor play can help your little ones develop the skills needed to succeed. If you want your kid to be independent, a free thinker, and highly resourceful, encourage them to play outside often.
Benefit #6: A Massive Break from Electronic Devices
Electronic devices and screens surround modern kids. Extensive use of digital technology can harm your kids since it can lead to physical inactivity and poor vision.
Taking a break from smartphones, tablets, laptops, and video games is essential for your kid’s physical and emotional health.
Outdoor play encourages them to keep their electronic devices away and enjoy the outdoors.
Regular outdoor play helps protect kids from the adverse effects of electronic devices by replacing screen time with physical activity and creativity. Encourage your little ones to go outside as much as possible; they will thank you later.
Benefit #7: Appreciation for the Environment
Research shows that close to 87% of people who regularly spend time playing outdoors as children value nature as adults.
Some studies show that people who appreciate nature from childhood tend to be more environmentally responsible than adults.
Playing outside helps your child appreciate the environment by interacting with nature and understanding its importance.
This is especially true if they are living in an urban area where they don’t get enough time to explore nature.
Exploring nature, interacting with animals, and learning about the environment can help your child realize how important it is to protect and conserve nature.
Through outdoor play, children learn the importance of appreciating their natural surroundings.
Benefit #8: Improves Mood
Did you know that spending time outside can improve your kids’ mood? Several studies have shown that being in nature can reduce stress levels, boost your child’s self-esteem, and make them happier.
Spending time outdoors reduces cortisol (stress hormone) and increases serotonin levels. This helps improve the overall mood of your children immensely.
Your kid will laugh more, be less anxious and feel energized after playing outside. Outdoor play can help them become more resilient and courageous as they overcome challenges and develop problem-solving skills.
Benefit #9: Helps Your Child Sleep Better at Night
Research shows that outdoor play can help your child sleep better at night.
Studies have found that the natural body rhythms get regulated when children spend time outdoors, and it helps them adjust to a daily sleeping routine.
A day spent playing outdoors helps kids naturally wind down in the evening. This makes it easier for them to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night, which is essential for their overall physical and mental health.
Include regular outdoor play in your child’s daily routine to ensure they get enough sleep at night.
Outdoor play will also help them stay energized throughout the day as they enjoy some much-needed fresh air.
Benefit #10: Stress Relief
Finally, outdoor play is a perfect way for kids to relieve stress. Being outdoors helps children and adults disconnect from their everyday stresses and worries and reconnect with nature.
Research suggests that spending time in natural settings can reduce stress levels significantly.
Kids playing outside don’t have to worry about deadlines or competing with others. They can take in the beauty of nature and relax.
Furthermore, physical activity releases endorphins which elevate moods significantly and improve overall well-being.
Outdoor play provides your little ones with many physical, social, and mental benefits.
It allows them to get the recommended daily dose of physical activity; form strong relationships with peers, family members, and their environment; and develop creative skills that put their imaginations to good use.
Therefore, try to make outdoor play an everyday part of your life with your children. And remember that you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment or space to have fun outdoors – all you need is creativity!
Last update on 2023-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API