No matter the season or the weather, it is so important to get kids outside. Have you ever noticed your children are happier when they get some fresh air?
As it turns out, this effect is not random. It’s backed by science! Outdoor play is so important as it provides the movement and sunlight that is so crucial for a child’s well-being–physically, emotionally, and developmentally.
Before you head outdoors, let’s take a deep dive into the importance of outdoor play, why it will benefit your child, and ideas to get outside regardless of the weather and season.
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The Importance of Outdoor Play
Just like adults who perhaps need to get outside daily for a walk, run, or bike ride for exercise and sunlight, many children have an extra need for movement than even a typical child’s needs.
Outdoor play helps with learning, focus, impulsivity, the ability to sit still, aggression, mood improvement, and can bring people out of a sad, lonely, or introverted state of mind.
Another huge benefit of outdoor play is that it is one of the primary triggers that help with sleep. The sunlight and movement help a child fall asleep at night and stay asleep.
Most children need 45 minutes to an hour of outdoor play each day; in addition to the 30 minutes, they may get at school recess if they are school-aged.
4 Key Benefits of Outdoor Play
- Physically healthier. Children who spend ample time outdoors each day are physically healthier. Just like adults who get the recommended amount of exercise each week, children who spend time playing outdoors live healthier lives.
- Mentally healthier. Children who spend time outdoors each day exhibit fewer symptoms of ADHD. Depression and stress are also lowered for children and adults who spend time in nature daily.
- More positive behavior. There is a direct link between outdoor play and behavior for most children. Children who spend time in nature generally have less anger and aggression than those who do not.
- Higher engagement in learning. Time outdoors for children is linked to improved learning outcomes. Outdoor play inspires creativity, critical thinking, and curiosity.
Ideas for Outdoor Play
Outdoor play does not have to involve more than sending your kids outside to run around in the backyard! If you are looking to make outdoor play more fun and exciting, these creative ideas may inspire you to lace up everyone’s shoes and head outdoors.
- Take a trip to a new playground.
- Take a family walk or bike ride, or walk to an errand rather than driving.
- Read books outside.
- Have a nature scavenger hunt or nature collection.
- Bring a ball outside–soccer ball, basketball, etc!
- Take a lunch picnic to a nearby park or plan a dinner BBQ with family or friends.
Discover the Benefits of Nature
Even as adults, we have felt the effects of being outside in nature–a morning run, a walk during your lunch break, or a weekend hike. For children, the effects are even stronger. If there is one thing you do each day with your children, send them outdoors!
At BLOOM, we offer online resources to meet parents and families where they are at. With easy-to-access courses and paid online subscriptions, you can discover more on topics such as Impulsivity, Attention, Aggression, Anxiety, and more.