Playing Outside During the FallSeptember 13, 2018
The cool weather on its way doesn’t mean that children have to retreat indoors and spend their playtime with a screen. Despite busy fall schedules, here are five reasons why playing outside is vitally important for kid’s health (and adults, too!).
1. Exercise for the Mind
When kids play outside, especially with a friend, a ball or a bike, it encourages “active play”. This allows kids to create and participate in their own activity, rather than passive play, where they watch and observe, either in person or on television. Playing outside also encourages creativity, trying new things, and imagination, and teaches children how to amuse themselves.
2. Exercise for the Body
Even though kids can also play indoors, playing outside is one way to make sure that they are active for a portion of the day. This grants them a healthy dose of Vitamin D, which plays a crucial role in many body processes. Exercise can also help improve a child’s sleep patterns and moods.
3. Build New Skills
As children get older, their lives tend to revolve more and more around structured activities like school, sports teams, or extracurriculars. Spending unstructured time outside, whether with a caregiver or a peer, helps children learn to work together, solve problems, and explore new environments.
4. Use Your Senses
Playing outside stimulates a child’s sense of sight, hearing, touch, and smell. Constant exposure to new things in the outdoors keeps the senses engaged and ready to soak in the natural world.
5. Stay Curious
Adults can sometimes forget the amazing things that happen outside our front door: a colony of ants, the changing leaves in the fall, or a squirrel burying acorns are all amazing sights found in nature. Making sure kids play outside will help them develop an appreciation for the outdoors and a sense of adventure!
Adapted from Harvard Medical School
For more tips on spending unstructured time together, click here.