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Kids spend most of their time indoors because it’s convenient. They learn inside schools, play video games in the living room and host sleepovers inside. Even when things get busy, it’s crucial to remember why you need to let your kids play outside.
Getting outdoors helps kids develop physically, mentally and emotionally. Check out these essential benefits to playing outside so your family doesn’t unknowingly fall into the trap of a sedentary lifestyle.
1. They’ll Get Exercise
It’s impossible not to get more exercise when you go outside. Any alternative to lying around the house gets your blood pumping. Give your kids a few things to do by suggesting activities like:
- Family walks after dinner
- Biking in the afternoons
- Backyard obstacle course races
- Play basketball
The daily movement maintains non-fat body mass and prevents childhood obesity from resulting in lifelong health complications. Even young kids could experience significant health risks like high blood pressure and diabetes. A little movement now will make life easier later on.
2. They’ll Improve Their Motor Skills
Parents often think that children fine-tune their motor skills during their toddler years, but older kids can go outside to continue their improvements. Swinging a bat, jumping rope or even throwing a basketball all requires essential motor skills they’ll need in their adult years.
Drawing and writing are just the beginning of what kids conquer when they improve their fine motor skills. They’ll also practice self-care and develop confidence because they won’t struggle with tasks their friends can do easily.
If you never struggled with fine motor skills, it isn’t easy to comprehend how they play a role in nearly everything you do. Kids who don’t get time outside don’t get as many opportunities to develop their abilities and get more out of life.
3. They Meet New People
There are plenty of places to go outside and meet new people. Your children can play at local playgrounds or parks to practice their social abilities. They’ll talk with new friends and form relationships, which they’ll need later in life.
Talking through a chat box isn’t the same as learning to read body language and tones of voice. Encourage your kids to socialize by going outside and doing something fun with friends.
4. They Learn About the World
Watching a nature documentary isn’t the same thing as exploring outdoors. Having first-hand experience with nature fosters positive attitudes towards the environment, even in young kids. As they grow up, your kids could use their love of nature to lead sustainable lives and improve the planet.
5. They Need Vitamin D
Sunshine is a natural source of vitamin D, which every kid needs. Even outdoor winter activities will boost their immune system by giving them more vitamin D. Help your child have every health advantage by encouraging them to get outside.
6. They’ll Use Extra Senses
Playing with toys might engage your child’s imagination, but not necessarily all five senses. Going outside changes the game. They’ll encounter new smells, textures, temperatures and scenery.
Outdoor experiences also engage two relatively unknown senses — the vestibular and proprioception systems. The first is how people use their inner ears to maintain their balance. It improves how they hold their posture and handle their speed of movement. Running across the grass, climbing the monkey bars and balancing on fallen trees are great ways to practice the vestibular system.
The proprioception system alerts you to your body’s position. It uses proprioceptors throughout the body to determine how to problem solve. They’ll know how much strength to use when pushing furniture around or how to use their limbs. Kids won’t get the experience they need with these extra senses by spending their days on the couch.
7. They Can Practice Independence
It’s much easier to closely monitor your kids when they’re always across the room. As their parent, you want to jump in whenever they need help or can’t immediately figure something out. Sometimes that’s necessary, but it doesn’t help them grow into independent people.
Let your kids roam outside in a safe area, like the backyard or a park. They’ll practice decision making and problem-solving. Anything they come across will happen in a safe space so they aren’t in any danger. As they make good decisions, they’ll develop a healthy sense of confidence.
8. They’ll Feel Refreshed
Spending all day cooped up inside can lead to irritation and restlessness. Kids might explode into temper tantrums, begin overeating or lean on bad habits to vent their frustration.
Research shows that nature offers opportunities for restoration when kids deal with mood swings or mental health challenges. Fresh air and outdoor space reduce stress and anxiety. Everyone could benefit from a little outdoor fun, especially children who need a mood boost.
Imagine Fun Ideas
Kids won’t want to go outside if they don’t know what to do once they get there. Imagine fun ideas to get them excited. Even a few budget-friendly supplies like bubble wands or chalk could help them get active. Once they get moving, they’ll experience all these benefits and more.