I remember when I was a kid, my mother made sure she sent my brother and I out to play every afternoon. Every day! We used to have a fairly big compound consisting of four apartments.There were nearly ten youngsters, aged between five years to fifteen years, or maybe even more, and we used to play everything from soccer to random games we made up.
We had a great childhood. Of course, we had no idea why our parents were so keen on sending us outside every single day. Now that I am a parent myself, I try to follow in my mother’s footsteps. I make sure my kids are outside everyday, regardless of them visiting the park, or simply playing at the backyard.
The reason why I emphasize my kids should spend time outdoors is because of the vast amount of benefits it holds. That said, nowadays, most parents are blamed to have introduced technology to their children at a very early age, which leads to a lot of primary problems.
This article will show you some amazing benefits of letting your children spend time outdoors.
1. They absorb more vitamin D and have stronger bones.
The sun produces so much vitamin D it absorbs through the skin. Of course, a sunscreen lotion is a must when we are outdoors, especially for the kids. It is not compulsory to leave your child outside for long periods. Spending an adequate amount time is sufficient for a child to absorb enough vitamin D for the day. Remember, too much exposure is harmful for the skin.
2. They are physically active.
So what happens when you leave your children outside and tell them to play? You will witness blithe spirits running here and there, jumping up and down, doing things only possible by them. They’ll experience generations-old childhood favorites like climbing trees, collecting stones, building model houses with sticks, and so on. Such activities link to a healthy physical development. Thus, your children are physically fit, and have a smaller chance of obesity, heart problems, and diabetes.
3. They have strong motor skills, and a stronger immune system.
When outdoors, children not only run around and jump up and down, they also ride bikes, and fall down while playing. All of these physical activities require motor skills. Once the children are specialized in such sports, their motor skills develop and they are more flexible.
Naturally, while they are busy frolicking outside, they are exposed to dirt as well. This is actually a good way to build up their immune system. Children who are acquainted with dirt from a very young age, have stronger immune systems compared to children who prefer to stay indoors.
4. They are more coordinating.
Children who spend time outdoors have a tendency to coordinate with each other more. Since they play in the same playground with their peers, they are naturally accustomed to sharing the toys, swings, and other playing tools. Thus, they build connections with each other and develop teamwork.
5. They use creativity for imaginative games.
It’s not only that the children engage themselves in playing on the swings, the slides, or even soccer, they are also inclined to construct different games that come out of their pure imagination. For instance, I have seen my two children playing catch-me-while-I-run. The older goes on all four, and pretends to be a horse, while the younger one runs all over trying to runaway from the “horse”. This is just an example of one game. There are many others like this. When children are in a group, they come up with different ideas, and use them all at the same time. This also builds up a great teamwork!
6. They have strong awareness and observation skills.
Because they experience nature everyday, they are prone to observe everything around them. Your little one will notice a tiny insect that you are unaware of. They are aware of the whole natural world around them. They are not enclosed to a room. They have a vast canvas, where they can paint their own art with their surroundings. It helps them discover new things everyday, and helps them develop their own individualism.
7. They love and respect nature.
I have seen young children, who would stamp on the little flowers at first, or pluck a leaf and throw it away. Then, I have seen the parents of these children train them how not to destroy such things. I have also trained my children by telling them that the flowers and the leaves would get hurt if you stamp or pluck it. They never did such things anyways. Rather, they would make sure they don’t step on a flower, even if it’s a wild one. Young children not only have love for these natural things, but also care deeply for the animals, insects, birds around them. These children will nurse a wounded bird, pet a lamb, and play with their neighbor’s dog.
8. They have healthier eating habits.
Take your children to an apple orchard, or a mandarin garden, and ask them to pick up the fruits and eat them. They will love it. If you have a vegetable garden, ask them to help you pick up those veggies. They will also love that. These habits lead to healthier eating habits. They see the beautiful bright colored food, and they imagine those to be equally beautiful to eat. There is pride in eating something which they have picked with their own hands!
9. They are less likely to suffer from nearsightedness.
We have always heard our previous generations say that if we look at all the trees, grass, flowers, and everything green, we will never have to wear glasses. Well, it is somewhat true. Children who spend time outdoors are less likely to suffer from nearsightedness. It is because when children stay indoors, all they do is spend time watching television, or play on their tablet. These activities put pressure on their eyes. Whereas, when they are outside, their eyes relax, along with their minds.
10. They are a happy bunch!
I have to take my children outside everyday. Whenever they are stuck a home due to bad weather, they would look outside the window, and have faces just as gloomy as the weather. Once they are out, they refuse to come back inside, even after two hours of non-stop playing. Why? Because when they are outside, they are themselves – carefree, wild, laughing, jumping, playing, yelling, the list goes on. They are happy! This is also because there isn’t as many activities inside. Staying inside for long periods can actually lead to anxiety and depression.
There’s no end to the enjoyment a child gets from the freedom of spending time outdoors. Let them run wild with their imagination. Let them amuse themselves. Let them build their future with sticks and stones.
They will turn out to be the smarter, the happier, and the healthier ones!