With the good weather we enjoy more being outdoors, doing outdoor activities, and of course, so do the kids! In this blog we are going to explain the main benefits of spending time outdoors for children.
10 benefits of playing outdoors
According to a survey conducted by the detergent brand Skip, “children spend as little time outdoors as inmates in maximum security prisons”. Surely this statement has surprised you. The same analysis concludes that the time children spend playing outdoors has dropped by 71% in just one generation. Today, children spend 90% of their time indoors.
Pediatricians often recommend that children spend at least one hour a day outdoors, but why? The reasons are many and important! Shall we find out?
Playing outdoors forces children to think creatively as they must investigate their environment, discover their surroundings and invent games with what they have at hand. It is true that in playgrounds everything is prepared for children to entertain themselves, but in nature this is not the case, as it is not prepared specifically for playing, it is the children themselves who must find entertainment and that’s great! It stimulates creativity, imagination and of course laughter!
Promotion of socialization
At the playground your children play with other children their age, talk, have fun and even fight. These situations help them to socialize, resolve conflicts, make friends and learn the established rules.
Walking in the sunlight is very important for children (and for parents too), its action is necessary for the body to synthesize vitamin D, an essential component for bones to assimilate calcium. Of course, protect your child with sunscreen and a hat, and avoid going to the park at the hottest times of the day.
When you take your children outdoors, you are giving them the chance to discover the world around them through their five senses. Children are curious and love discovering new things. A walk in nature allows them to feel different textures and smells, hear unfamiliar animals and much more! Going for a walk in nature is synonymous of constant stimulation and many things to discover, it also allows children to connect with the planet in which they live and not be isolated at home playing video games.
One of children’s favorite outdoor games is running! Jumping, climbing, running... all these activities involve physical exercise and that’s just what your kids need! You can also take toys with them that encourage these activities, such as a soccer ball, a skipping rope or even a tricycle or kick ride on car so they can move around wherever they want without the danger of cars.
Getting away from home and technology for a while can help you break down communication barriers. If we leave the cell phone aside and focus on nature, it will be easy to share different activities with our children and even be amazed with them as they discover new things!
Outdoors it is not necessary to respect so many rules. Of course, there are safety rules to follow to have a good time without accidents, but it’s easier to relax! In the park, there are no neighbors who get angry if the kids run or jump, the kids can play in the dirt without dirtying the house, they can play ball without breaking anything...
Spending time in contact with nature helps children (and you too) to release tension. Have you tried it yet?
Outdoor play has another “collateral” benefit: kids spend less time in front of screens. An afternoon outdoors is an afternoon free of video games, television and/or social networks and that is always good news, since prolonged exposure to screens can damage eyesight, cause headaches and even light prevents them from resting properly. By taking your kids for a walk in nature you give their eyes a rest, and yours too.
Contact with nature allows children to discover animals, plants, trees and much more. Their relationship with the environment is affected by these discoveries: a child who is regularly in contact with nature is likely to be more empathetic when it comes to recycling and caring for animals and plants. Outdoor play is a fundamental pillar of child development. We know that on a daily basis it is sometimes difficult to take the time as parents to go to the park or for a walk in nature because at the end of the day, we have to work and things around the house are not done on our own. However, it is important that you know the benefits of playing outdoors so that, at least a couple of times a week, you go for a walk with your kids.