5 Reasons Why You Should Encourage Kids to Play Outside Now That It Is Spring
It is that time of year again – the mornings are getting lighter, the temperatures are starting to climb, and everything seems fresh, beautiful, and full of life. Gone are the days of snuggling up on the couch and pulling that duvet tighter around you. The days are beautiful, and the outdoors are calling. If you have children, now is the time to encourage them to play outside. Not only for your sanity, but also for their benefit. Here are five of the top reasons why it is great for kids to play outside:
- It Provides Many Physical Health Benefits
Because of their developing bodies, kids have a great need for physical exercise. Playing outdoors involves lots of running, skipping, jumping, or at the very least, some walking. This helps the development of their muscles, helps to stretch and grow ligaments, and strengthens bones.
Outdoor activities also increase exposure to sunshine. While precaution against sunburn should certainly be taken, sunlight is vital for good health. It helps our bodies produce Vitamin D, which plays a vital role in many bodily functions, including bone development and maintaining a healthy immune system.
- It Supports Social Development
Playing outside helps kids to learn how to work together. They make friends, create alliances, solve problems, and figure out new games. It teaches them how to compromise, cooperate, and share with each other. In addition, it stimulates their imagination and creativity as they come up with new games and solutions to challenges, and generally create their own world within their environment.
- Outdoor Activities Can Increase Happiness
This brings us back to the physical activity. In addition to helping the body develop, exercise also stimulates the secretion of feel-good hormones. Furthermore, exposure to natural light triggers the function of the pineal gland, which results in humans feeling happier.
There have also been many studies that draw a parallel between spending time in nature and an improved mood and lower stress levels.
- Playing Outside Stimulates Sensory Development
Outdoor play involves all the senses – touch, smell, sight, sound, and taste. Let us face it, these are kids, and chances are that they will experiment through tasting when you are not looking. Optometry studies have shown that children who regularly play outside often have better distance vision than their indoor counterparts.
- It Could Help Improve Academic Performance
Many parents today put emphasis on the academic performance of their children. Various studies have indicated that, instead of detracting, time spent outdoors actually boosts mental performance. Children who play outside often have longer attention spans on average and perform better at school.