Now that so many children have iPads and phones to stay occupied, more and more kids are spending their free time indoors. While television used to be the main culprit, one might argue that phones and computers have taken over. In either case, the increase in numbers of children spending a significant amount of time inside has resulted in several studies that outline how and why this can have a negative impact on their development and health. In the same sense, research has also discovered that there are many benefits to children playing outdoors; here are just six of the benefits:
Outdoor play is critical for boosting creativity among children. Away from the restrictions of the indoors, the outdoors often stimulates children’s imaginations more because of the endless scenery and objects surrounding them; such stimulation can tap into their creativity quite quickly.
Of course, there are various health advantages to playing outside. With more room for exploring, children tend to be more active naturally, which improves bone strength, fitness levels, and helps them burn off that extra energy. Also, being outside with the sunshine even in winter weather means children will absorb vital vitamin D, which helps maintain bone and tooth health and supports healthy immune and nervous systems as well as brain health.
Encourages Social Skills
Being outdoors is often less intimidating for young children than indoor play. There is more space and freedom which may encourage children to come out of their shell and socialize with others. Usually, children are more willing to play and participate in activities when they are not directly supervised or confined in a small space. Talking and playing with different children immediately teaches what’s involved in socializing and interacting within group settings.
Promotes a Sense of Well-Being
Allowing children the freedom to play outdoors, gives children a sense of calmness and happiness afterward. As previously mentioned, being outside means that children naturally obtain vitamin D, which is proven to improve moods and establish a positive mental state. Outdoor play is particularly beneficial if your child tends to get fidgety after sitting for long periods of time.
The large space in which to play means that when outside children are usually away from direct adult supervision. This approach to play improves independence which teaches children how to play both independently and with others. Your children will adapt to what it means to take turns, how to pick themselves up when they fall, and what the best approach is for navigating unfamiliar equipment. All of this exploration results in learning to be self-reliant.
Provides Room to Explore
Usually outdoor play equipment comes with a bit more risk than playing indoors. Whether it is motivating children to use slides they may be reluctant to go down, or to try challenging activity panels; outdoor play equipment challenges children to push their boundaries and become familiar with risk assessment.