Kids currently stare at technology like phones, laptops, tablets, and televisions for an average of seven hours every day. Studies suggests that young people today commonly forgo vigorous outdoor leisure in favor of more sedentary pursuits, frequently to the detriment of their health and quality of life.
If you’re like most parents, you already knew that your children prefer to play indoors rather than outside during their awake hours. For years, influential people and the media have highlighted the decreasing levels of child activity. Even more than ten years later, it’s simple to find news about youngsters preferring screens over active play. Many parents are still unaware of the importance of movement, despite the fact that more parents are beginning to realize the benefits of physical activity for their entire family.
Benefits of Exposing Kids to Nature
You want your kids to grow up to be healthy, well-rounded people with a strong sense of compassion and independence. Getting your children outside is the best method to instill these values in them. When kids spend more time outside and away from technology, their physical health improves and their emotional and mental toughness grows. There’s no doubting the advantages of playing outdoor games and getting out of the house and into the sunshine, whether it’s a trip to a park with a natural theme or a trek through the woods with their family.
Physical Development Benefits
Spending time outside has a positive impact on children’s physical development throughout their preschool and elementary years. Playing outside has a direct impact on a child’s physical fitness, weight, and immune system. Being active as children increases the likelihood that they will exercise frequently as adults. Young children who are encouraged to play outside develop a positive perception of leading an active adult lifestyle. Compared to their peers, kids who spend more time outside frequently exhibit the following traits.
Advanced Motor Skills
Children who spend more time outside playing can develop more complex motor abilities, such as agility, balance, and coordination, than youngsters who spend most of their time inside. Children who move more while playing outside put their bones, muscles, and physical stamina to the test. Children have enough space to play, swing, and stroll outdoors. They have the ability to seize. They can ride motorcycles, ride up trees, and hide in bushes. Children’s physique and sense of self-confidence can both be strengthened through exercise. Kids who play sports can develop their skills, such as kicking, catching, and batting – whatever they require for their particular sport – by spending more time outside.
Lower Body Mass Index
Children who play outside more often than their sedentary peers are more active, which reduces their risk of obesity. They don’t sit in front of a computer or television for extended periods of time. Instead, they are exercising and burning calories outside. One study that looked at body mass index (BMI) in preschoolers found a connection between a child’s BMI and the amount of time they spend exercising outside. Compared to parents who restricted their children’s playtime, parents who let their kids play outside for a longer period of time typically had children with lower BMIs.
Better General Health
Your child’s immune system and mood can both benefit from time in the sun. Playing outside provides a safe outlet for the pent-up energy that can cause problems indoors, which benefits children with ADHD. Children who play outside can also get adequate vitamin D, sometimes known as the “sunshine vitamin,” which our bodies produce when we are exposed to the sun. Despite the fact that it can be contained in some foods, kids usually need more than what their diets can offer. Playing outside on bright days is one of the best ways to make sure that your child’s body is making enough.
Improved Muscle Health
Playing outside improves a child’s coordination and strength. Take swinging as an illustration. As they learn to imitate the motion of the swing, children are using all of their muscles to hold on and sit up. Swinging can seem like a dull playground game, but it requires kids to build their muscles. Additional outdoor toys that encourage your child to use and strengthen their muscles are bikes, skateboards, and scooters.
Social Development Benefits
Kids’ outside play is crucial for their health and provides them with a wonderful opportunity to grow socially. While playing with their peers, kids can learn important social skills like empathy, cooperation, and friendship that may help them succeed in the future. Think about these noteworthy benefits.
Easier Communication with Others
Children may feel the need to compete with their peers, like siblings or classmates, for their parents’ attention because indoor environments are typically smaller. Children who are faced with these overwhelming circumstances frequently get intimidated and withdraw from their peers and guardians. Since they are in an open space without competition, kids who spend more time outside often feel less scared. Having enough space to breathe and move around might also help youngsters feel more comfortable opening up and discussing their feelings with dependable adults.
Children who play outside are more likely to develop their capacity for observation and reasoning. Swinging and other playground activities benefit kids physically. Additionally, children can see the world from a variety of perspectives when they are outside. While an adult pulls them on a swing, they learn about spatial awareness and are introduced to ideas like cause and effect.
Appreciation for the Environment
This enthusiasm has a straightforward origin—children develop a love of nature via direct encounters with flora and fauna. They take pleasure in hearing birds singing in the treetops. They catch fireflies and ladybugs. They take pleasure in watching sunsets, tend flowers, and explore parks. These pleasant memories encourage kids to become well-informed, compassionate adults. They are more driven to protect these locations because they are aware of their significance.
Improved Peer-to-Peer Relationships
Children who spend a lot of time playing outside are more likely to be self-aware and perceptive to other people’s feelings. It’s interesting to note that studies show that kids who play outside frequently are less likely to become bullies as adults. Outdoor play necessitates cooperation and creativity in order for kids to have positive relationships with their friends. Children who have access to outdoor playtime on a regular basis are more likely to get along with others and find common interests.
Emotional Development Benefits
Children who have enough opportunity to play outside tend to be emotionally stronger and process information more quickly than kids who don’t, in addition to the social and physical advantages of outside play.
Use of All Five Senses
Hearing and sight are the only senses needed to watch television. Kids who watch a lot of TV consequently have a reduced ability to process and react to the sensory cues they come into contact with throughout their life. However, children that play outside frequently engage their senses more through exploration. These interactions expose young children to a variety of sensory stimuli, enabling them to better interpret this information as they get older.
Although parents are typically nearby, children feel freer to play in parks than they do in other situations. At the park, kids can experiment and explore without feeling like they are under constant parental watch. More flexibility allows them to experiment, discover their limitations, and create new games with their friends. They will build confidence as a result of these findings, which will help them as they learn and grow.
Learn to Self-Reflect
It takes a lot of self-reflection to learn how to deal with the stresses of everyday life. When playing outside in an unstructured environment, kids can take risks and try new things. They will therefore feel a variety of emotions in response to their achievements and setbacks. By considering these encounters in the future, they’ll be able to pursue success and gain knowledge from their setbacks. Kids can now manage and understand their emotions thanks to this new skill. Children who lack emotional regulation frequently engage in verbal and physical misbehavior, but those who have developed it learn to handle disagreement in a calm, diplomatic way.
Even though you’ve already heard it, we’ll repeat it. Kids today are accustomed to cozy settings and rapid satisfaction. Spending time in the unpredictable wild outdoors can teach kids how to cope with both physical and emotional adversity. Many outdoor and recreational pursuits can teach children to persevere in trying situations, enhancing self-assurance and internal drive. Kids can manage their stress and anxiety as a result, which helps them succeed in school and later in life.
Intellectual Development Benefits
Many parents think that the best way to promote their children’s intellectual development is to extend the amount of time they spend learning in a regulated classroom environment. But did you know that exposing your children to nature is a great way to encourage their cerebral growth? Playing outside has the following significant benefits.
Aid with Brain Development
Unrestricted outdoor play helps kids create new activities, explore their surroundings, and develop independence. Along with their growing sense of independence, they also improve their organizing and decision-making skills. Children improve their capacity to solve problems and create imaginary worlds via both independent and cooperative play. These interactions teach kids to respect others and follow the rules.
Improve Interpersonal Skills
Kids commonly interact with other kids and learn how to form sincere friendships at the playground or in the park. They interact with people from various backgrounds, teaching them how to have effective playdates with kids of all backgrounds. Parents can encourage this engagement by organizing playdates with friends outside. Children frequently get the opportunity to explore building relationships without parental guidance in outside settings like playgrounds.
Expand Learning Space
By placing educational games and materials outside, you provide kids the ability to play while learning. The ability to learn outside of regular classrooms and other indoor settings is demonstrated to children. For instance, as they keep score during games, they improve their counting skills and gain knowledge of the links between different numbers as the score rises.
Spark Interest in New Topics
Spending more time outside exposes kids to new sights, sounds, and smells. After such a strange array of events, one could wonder what kind of animal it is. How much time do trees need to grow? Your child might discover a passion for science or environmental action that they had no idea they had.
Encourage people to pursue new interests by providing them with the time and tools to do so. For instance, if your child wants to learn more about rocks, you may assist them in creating a collection of rocks or let them borrow geology books from the library. Instead, you may take your kid on a nature expedition along a nearby route if they’re interested in learning more about trees so they can identify the ones they see.
Parents need to keep in mind that all outdoor games and activities are good for kids, even though outdoor play looks different as kids get older and change. A 1-year-old is learning that a slide feels smooth, the light is brilliant, and birds reside in the trees around the park where you go exploring even though they may not be able to swing on monkey bars or go down a slide by themselves. The great outdoors is the most creative environment there is. The possibilities to learn and be creative are unlimited, whether it’s in your backyard, a park in your community, or a rooftop garden.