Reasons Children Need To Play Outside
- Feb 12, 2019
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While in days gone by, children used to spend hours and hours of their time playing outside. Come rain or shine, it seemed every kid would enjoy spending time with their friends and being active. Times have changed, however. With TV, video games and other technology keeping us safe and secure in our houses, children aren’t getting enough fresh air. And as a result, they’re missing out on the following benefits of outside play.
- Exposure to sunshine. While no one is suggesting to let children get sunburned, or spend prolonged periods of time unprotected, a bit of sunshine is actually needed by our bodies. It provides the body with vitamin D, which is crucial for bone development and a healthy immune system.
- Exercise is so important. Kids need to be outside, roaming relatively freely and moving their bodies. While you can get on a treadmill and do exercise in doors, being outside will be a much bigger encouragement for you children to get moving and be active on a daily basis.
- Appreciation of nature is becoming so uncommon, especially in big cities. Whereas climbing trees was a mandatory inclusion on every kid’s list of favourite pastimes, many parents feel the activity is too dangerous and prefer to have their kids within reach, at ground level where they can be safe.
- Socialising is enhanced by being outdoors, around other children. If a group of friends are outside, communicating and working together, this will help them learn to interact in a wide variety of settings. While playing sports offers a structured approach to this, it’s when kids can play freely with each other that development is really taken to the next level.
- Taking risks is something that every child needs to do. It’s hard being a parent and having to let go of control as your kid grows up. Obviously, you don’t want to let your children make their own way in the outside world with zero preparation. On the other hand, keeping them inside the house where you can keep your eye on them will severely stifle their development. In order to find a happy medium, you can try explaining to them about the concept of risks. Talk to them about various dangers in the world and the right thing to do in various articles. The goal here, is not to create a state of fear, but to give them a respect for anything that is potentially hazardous.
Actively being outside is imperative for brain development. Skills, such as planning, prioritising, troubleshooting, negotiation, being creative and multitasking are all so critical for our success. In order to learn, practice and develop these skills, children need to do so on their own free time. While learning from textbooks has its advantages, it’s in a child’s free outdoor time when they really learn to use the full potential of their imagination in a wide variety of scenarios when their brain gets fully developed.