It may seem hard to find the time to play with your kids due to your busy schedule. However, this is important for their health. Plus, you are creating memories with them that will last a lifetime. Here are 10 reasons why you should go outside and enjoy time with your children.
To Soak up Sunlight
Sunshine provides your kids with vitamin D, which is essential to their growth. It plays a role in their bone development. This vitamin promotes calcium absorption, keeping their bones strong, and it also impacts their immune system and helps reduce inflammation.
Sun exposure provides your kids with mental health benefits. It releases the hormones serotonin and melatonin, which can boost their mood and improve their sleep patterns.
On hotter days, be sure to limit the amount of sun exposure to protect your children from UV radiation.
To Get Them Exercising
Being outdoors is a great way to encourage more active play. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), your child needs at least an hour of physical activity a day. Playing outside gives them more space to run around.
Consider tossing a ball around or going to a natural playground to get them moving. This option uses elements like trees, logs and rocks for equipment. They are an excellent way for your kids to learn about nature while promoting physical activity.
To Encourage Their Creativity and Problem-Solving Skills
Creativity and problem-solving skills need to be taught and will benefit your child later on in life. Exterior play is often unstructured, encouraging children to develop their own games and decide how to handle new situations. This also can improve their planning and multitasking skills.
To further enhance their problem-solving skills, try these bonding activities:
- Play with blocks
- Solve a puzzle
- Engage in hide-and-seek with objects
- Encourage imaginative play
- Play dress-up
To Encourage Them to Take Risks
While you want to protect your child at all costs, it is important to encourage them to challenge themselves. Not being afraid to take on risks can make them more self-sufficient. Outdoor play is the perfect way to use natural elements, such as climbing trees, to test their physical strength. Plus, since you’re there with them, you can still make sure they are safe.
To Increase Socialization
Playing with other kids is important to teach your child social skills. When they play games with others, they are encouraged to work together, share and communicate effectively. Improving these skills can help them build better relationships in the future.
If your kid is a little more reserved, consider these tips to make them feel more comfortable when interacting with others:
- Engage in roleplay
- Share personal shyness experiences
- Ask them about their feelings
- Help them make friends
To Help Them Gain a Better Appreciation for Nature
Outside play allows your child to relate to nature. Walking in the woods or splashing in a stream can help them connect with the environment. Seeing new animals and plants is also an excellent educational opportunity for your kids.
Go to your local park and take a walk along a trail. If you’re looking to travel, consider checking out these national parks:
- Grand Canyon
- Bryce Canyon
- Arches and Canyonlands
- Rocky Mountain
The more your kid cares about the planet, the more likely they will take action to sustain it. This is especially important as climate change continues to make an impact. The increase in carbon dioxide levels, global temperature and sea levels are all indicators of climate change.
To Improve Their Sensory Skills
Outdoor activity allows your child to use all their senses. They can see the animals, smell the flowers, touch the water and eat parent-approved berries. Engaging all their senses can improve their vision and build their cognitive skills, such as problem-solving.
Here are additional activities to help improve your child’s sensory abilities:
- Create a sensory bin of objects with different colors and textures
- Allow them to play with their food
- Make sound tubes from empty toilet paper rolls
- Get out the play dough
- Build a balance beam
To Increase Their Attention Span
When kids play outside, they develop their own ideas on how to entertain themselves. This keeps them more focused on the task at hand. Also, they learn to tune out external stimuli, such as birds chirping, to complete their goal. Having an increased attention span will help them succeed in school.
To Reduce Stress Levels
Fresh air calms your child and reduces their tension. Physical activity releases endorphins, which are similar to the drug morphine and will make your child feel happier.
Outdoor play gives your kids more room to experiment, which can lower anxiety. Also, running around allows them to release any built-up emotions constructively.
To Improve Their Motor Skills
Climbing trees and rocks require balance and agility. Kids that are exposed to these types of activities can increase their motor skills.
Here are some outdoor activities to increase your child’s mobility while bonding with them:
- Throw a ball
- Play hopscotch
- Go for a walk
- Play Simon Says
- Start a game of tag
Keep Your Kids Healthy and Happy
While it’s often easier to sit your kid in front of an electric device to keep them entertained, consider getting them outside. Outdoor play has many physical and mental benefits for your child. It also gives you an excuse to step away from your computer and soak up some vitamin D yourself.