Play is integral to the well-being of children of all ages. There are many benefits of playing outside. Children’s development, physical, and emotional well-being are influenced specifically by the need for outdoor play. Many new moms are given advice along the lines of “Make sure your children go outside at least once a day” or “If your kid is fussy, take them outside or get them wet” because of the benefits of outdoor play for children’s development. Many pediatric psychologists even offer “blue and green therapy” as part of the care and treatment for children. How does children playing outside help their physical health and what does it look like?
Why is Outdoor Play Important?
The simple answer is the outdoors represent more freedom in how they play. Children playing outside do not have to worry or think about the restraints and rules that typically come with being indoors. Kids need to explore how their bodies work and have the freedom to exercise and learn new physical skills like running, jumping, kicking, throwing, spinning, etc.
There are a myriad of benefits of outdoor play for children’s development. For one thing, science has shown that kids playing outdoors can lower their risk of shortsightedness. Additionally, there are many positive outcomes from exposure to Vitamin D, which comes from the sun. Vitamin D is essential for bone health, and a deficiency in this vitamin causes a host of health problems both physical and mental.
What is Outdoor Play?
Outdoor Play is any time that is spent outdoors can count as outdoor play. Most kids are very resourceful in finding things to do and play with and will make up their own games. Many young children also enjoy being helpful, so being outside is a great way to encourage them to learn new skills like raking leaves or pulling weeds. Additional activities can be riding a bike, taking a walk, or playing on an outdoor playground.
How to Get Kids to Play Outside
If you have a child that is reluctant to play outdoors, many “indoor” activities can also take place outside. Set up a blanket in the yard and have a tea party in the grass. Bring a book outside and read together. The outdoors is a great place to get messy too, so your child can have more freedom to finger paint or get a little dirty.
If you’ve run out of ideas, our enriching outdoor nature-themed subscription boxes feature a variety of fun toys, gear and outdoor exploration activities to practice new outdoors skills.
There are numerous benefits of children playing outside. Children should be encouraged to spend time outside every day. It’s essential for their mental and physical health and promotes proper growth and development. In fact, being outside is good for the whole family. After all, children also learn best by example.