With children spending more and more time in front of the iPad and television the benefits of outdoor play seem to be forgotten.
Yes, the convenience of technology makes it an easy choice to keep the kids amused and entertained but when possible, outdoor play should also be encouraged. Here is why!
How does outdoor play benefit children?
There are countless benefits to outdoor play for both kids and parents. Here are just a few reasons why next time your child wants to spend the day in front of the screen, you should encourage them to step outside and explore.
· Vitamin D (otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin) – assists the body in absorption of calcium and phosphorus in addition to being vital for our bodies to recover from illness.
· Exercise – exercise in the form of unstructured play doesn’t seem like exercise at all. Children (even those with no interest in athletics or sports) are more likely to run around and burn that excess energy and strengthen muscles.
· Reduces the risk of becoming nearsighted – being outdoors has many benefits for your eye health. In particular, it reduces the risk of becoming nearsighted. How? When you are in front of screens, the eyes focus directly on the small screen. Whereas when you venture outdoors, your eyes have much more to focus on at a further distance. It also encourages your eyes to retain good peripheral vision.
· Independence – having the freedom to run, jump and climb with minimal intervention helps children gain better risk and decision making skills. In addition to gaining confidence in their abilities.
· Creativity – outdoor play encourages kids to think outside the box and sparks their creativity and gets their imagination running wild.
· Psychological – children that spend a lot of time outdoors in nature are typically happier and show more kindness to others.
· Respect and protect – outdoor play teaches children to respect and protect nature and their surroundings.
· Better sleep – while it may not make your child sleep longer, it could assist in a night of better, deeper sleep.
While outdoor play changes as children grow and their interests change, the benefits of outdoor play for kids is ever-evolving. This is why it is important to make an effort to step away from the devices and encourage your kids to take part and embrace all types of outdoor play.