Did you know children today only spend an average of 30 mins playing outside? Did you also know that children average 7 hours in front of tablets, television, smartphones, and laptops? There is no denying that kids are swapping their active outdoor play for a sedentary lifestyle and it could have serious consequences on their overall well-being.
As parents, you must encourage your kids to spend more time playing outside and less time on digital devices. By doing so, you’re not only helping them develop physically, but mentally as well. Whether it’s a trip to your nearest playground or simply taking a hike with the family, there are immense body and brain benefits of stepping away from the screen and into the sunshine. Let us quickly go through them.
Brain Benefits of Outdoor Play
- Outdoor play is crucial for the healthy development of your child’s brain. According to researchers the frontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for problem-solving and controlling emotions, gets activated during playtime.
- When kids play, their playing experience stimulates the brain to create neurotransmitter connections. These connections are critical when it comes to a child’s development. It is safe to say that outdoor play and your kid’s development go hand in hand.
- When children are engaged in outdoor play, with little rules or structure, their ability to solve complex emotional and social problems is increased.
- Kids also have the opportunity to interact with other children and come up with their own parameters and rules for their games. This, in turn, improves their social and negotiation skills.
- What’s more, outdoor play has immense benefits for kids with developmental and processing disorders. This is because, while playing and interacting with other kids, they get the opportunity to practice social interactions and strengthen communication skills.
Body Benefits of Outdoor Play
- There are a lot of health concerns about childhood obesity. So, what better way to deal with this problem than through exciting, healthy outdoor play? By simply playing, kids are jumping, climbing, running, rolling, squatting, and exerting their bodies. Moreover, it helps instill an informal exercise routine at a very early age, making it a solid foundation for health and fitness.
- Outdoor play can also teach kids to use their strength to navigate obstacles, catch and manipulate objects, or tackle playground equipment like jungle gyms. This can help in the development of core muscles.
- When it comes to kids with special needs, outdoor play can aid in refining motor skills, and improving coordination. Some special needs children may also have vitamin D deficiency. Natural outdoor exposure to sunshine can help them receive a good dose of vitamin D and strengthen their immune system.
We hope you have gained some valuable insights from this article. The next time your child wants to go outside and play, give them the full freedom to do so. You can rest easy knowing that you’re promoting the development of a healthy body and brain.