Children today are playing outside less than they ever have. This isn’t their fault, by any means. There are so many things that compete for a kid’s attention, that it is difficult to know where to look! Before the age of computers and smartphones, the outdoors were a primary source of entertainment for children, which ended up being a real good thing. Here are a few reasons why it is important to continue to promote outdoor play for your kids, and the benefits that it brings…
Healthier and more active kids
First of all, with childhood obesity rates at the highest they’ve ever been, anything that gets kids into a place where they are encouraged to run and play is incredibly welcome. Playing outside helps kids work through the exorbitant amounts of energy that they have, and keeps them healthy and active. People with active childhoods are more likely to maintain healthier habits in their adulthood, and so these habits might help your kids for a lifetime.
Offers better social situations
For kids, playing outside is the place where strong childhood friendships are forged. Learning to get along on the playground and inhabit the same space as other people is a lifelong skill that is crucial to develop early. Children who spend all of their time indoors are missing out on crucial opportunities to get to meet other kids and learn how to interact with them.
Kids outside suffer from less stress
For kids and adults, alike, being in nature helps reduce stress. Indeed, even trees in urban environments have been shown to improve people’s happiness levels and reduce widespread anxiety. The outdoors provide a great alternative to the steady stream of screens that have surrounded children today for pretty much their entire lives. Overuse of electronics has a strong correlation with higher levels of stress, and outdoor play can do wonders to negate these destructive effects.
Playing outside when you’re a kid can involve all sorts of different types of play. Sometimes these are sports-like games that have clear goals attached. However, kids who play outside learn how to make their own fun, and get good at imagining worlds apart from this one as they roam through backyards and park playgrounds. This helps develop an active imagination that can be fostered into adulthood.