Did you know that kids these days spend seven hours in front of their screens––tablets, televisions, phones, and computers––and just 30 minutes a day playing actively? The kids of today now choose to live a sedentary lifestyle than engaging in outdoor play. These can harm their well-being and health in the long run.
If you’re a parent, you know very well that your child would spend more time onscreen than with outdoor play or other tactile toys. While there are parents who are worried about their children’s lifestyles, some do not see why outdoor play is essential.
Some families are lucky enough to have patios installed in their homes with the help of a patio contractor. Others would spend time in the park just for some outdoor play. Regardless of your family’s current living setup, here’s why you should take the time to encourage your kids to do active outdoor play.
Physical Benefits of Outdoor Play
1. It improves your child’s motor skills
Developing motor skills is crucial for the overall healthy development of your child. Some kids take time to learn how to walk, gallop, and jump. However, exposure to outdoor play is seen to help kids advance their motor skills than those who would rather stay indoors. Skills developed through active outdoor play include good hand-eye coordination, agility, and balance.
2. It keeps them in shape
Statistics show that one in three kids is obese. Obesity can be caused by excessive eating and less physical activity. Yet, children who do outdoor play are less likely to be obese over the years.4
Studies also show that the longer a child spends time playing outdoors, the lower their body mass index is. Hence, encouraging children to be more active can help them get into shape even in their younger years.
3. It helps their muscles develop
Repetitive movements like jumping and jogging can help develop muscle strength among children. Moreover, toys like bikes, scooters, and skateboards can help improve children’s mobility as well.
Socioemotional Benefits of Outdoor Play
Aside from its physical benefits, outdoor play also provides an opportunity for kids to be socioemotionally healthy. Here are some reasons.
1. It helps develop good relationships with their parents and caregivers
When kids are in smaller and indoor spaces with other children like their friends and classmates, they can be easily intimidated. This could hinder them from sharing stories with their parents or caregivers.
Outdoor play helps children feel freer because they are not in a small, limited space. They also do not compete for the approval and attention of adults. Having the space to move around helps them breathe well and be open when talking about things freely with their trusted adults.
2. It boosts their self-awareness skills
Building self-awareness can be a challenge, especially when your child is glued to their screen. However, children who play outdoors are more observant and develop better listening and reasoning skills. Playground activities offer an opportunity for the younger ones to explore space from a different perspective.
3. It helps them develop a love of the environment.
Kids who spend time outdoors have better appreciation and care for nature. By having kids spend more time in an open space, they know more about plants and wildlife. Their fond memories of life outdoors help them develop more compassion for nature and its inhabitants.
4. It encourages them to have better relationships with peers
Children who play outdoors are more self-aware, but their feelings towards others are developed as well. Some studies show that children who do outdoor play are less likely to be bullies growing up.
Outdoor play also helps children develop teamwork, imagination, and love for others. They develop a good sense of camaraderie with their peers. They are also generally in a better mood than children who spend more time indoors.
5. Playing with other kids also helps them improve their communication skills
Children who play with other kids outdoors can communicate their needs better than children who don’t. They are also better at describing objects, and they can follow instructions without getting assistance from their adult caregivers.
Whether your kid is a toddler or a preteen, it is essential to lead them to spend more time outdoors than focusing on their gadgets for play. While technology offers some benefits, nothing replaces a good, fun time under the sun. Exploring your garden or a local park can help your kids develop appreciation for nature, their friends, and themselves. Spending time outdoors can help children grow with memories that they will treasure forever.