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The Importance of Outdoor Play for Children’s Development

Outdoor Play 

In 2022, kids average seven hours a day in front of electronics like tv’s, tablets, laptops, and cellphones. Encouraging children to spend more time in the outdoors and away from technology increases their physical well-being and helps them improve their emotional and intellectual health. Regardless of what the outdoor play is, whether it’s a walk or a raucous game of tag, there is no denying the benefits of playing outdoors and stepping away from their screens. The benefits can be broken up into the following categories: physical development, social development, and emotional development.

Read More: Kids & Screen Time, What Does the Research Say

Physical Development

Encouraging young kids to develop a healthy attitude about playing outside can help kids to engage more readily in physical activities as an adult, creating a lifelong healthy attitude. Along with this, outdoor play improves motor skills for kids. The differing play of outdoors develops kids’ coordination, balance, and agility, due to the extended ability to walk, run, jump, crawl, swing, and throw.

Overall health is something that parents keep a strong eye on for their children and increased outdoor play can help to improve this. Increased exercise for kids helps to deter many long-term health implications, like asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and sleep apnea. Exposure to sunlight improves moods and strengthens immune systems, which is another way to keep our kids healthy.

Social Development

When kids are inside, they are often in smaller spaces or competing with other children for attention. The environment can get loud and overwhelming, which can cause kinds, especially younger ones, to get intimidates and increasingly quiet. This can prevent them from opening up and sharing with their caregivers. Giving children the extra space to play outside can prevent this.

Outdoor play also increases the self-awareness of kids. It lets them explore the world from a different perspective, allowing them greater understanding of the space they are in and helps them to understand the concept of “cause and effect”. They see what happens when a grownup pushes them on a swing, which helps to craft more understanding children.

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Lastly, outdoor play helps to stimulate a few different types of relationships. Being out in nature helps to create a love and appreciation for the environment, which will carry into their adult lives. Outdoor play also improves peer relationships. Outdoor play often requires imagination and teamwork, which helps kids to craft positive interactions with each other. There is also the added advantage of improved problem solving. When playing outside, the nearest adult might be too far to ask for help solving a small problem. Kids must solve it together, which opens up the doors for collaboration elsewhere.

Emotional Development

Preschoolers who watch tv are using only two of their five senses, sight and hearing. This can severely limit their ability to process and respond to sensory stimuli they encounter as they grow.

Being outside has proven to help children develop their sense of independence. Even though a caregiver is usually pretty close by, children feel a sense of freedom when they’re at the park that they don’t experience elsewhere. They get a chance to explore and take limited risks without feeling like an adult is keeping tabs on them, invent games with their friends, explore their boundaries and figure out what they’re capable of doing.

Intellectual Development

Many caregivers think that the best way to develop intellectual abilities is to spend more time learning in an organized classroom environment. Outdoor play can help aid with brain development, with the increased use of imagination. The kids also improve their communication skills; kids have so many opportunities to meet other children and to cultivate friendships with them. They meet people who are different from them and develop the skills they need to play successfully with many different children.

Read More: Benefits of Outdoor Play