On average, children spend around six to nine hours a week in front of a screen. That’s a dramatic difference when compared to the mere seven minutes or less most spend outside enjoying the fresh air. Though it may seem like an eternity, it wasn’t so long ago that children looked forward to spending their afternoons outside, playing with friends, usually unsupervised. Now, the norm is for children to plop themselves in front of a screen and spend most of the day talking to friends, playing online games or watching movies. The ill-effects of being sedentary don’t only affect adults. Children who spend the majority of their time sitting are also prone to developing physical and psychological issues. Mainly, they’re facing negative emotional effects from isolation and physical problems from obesity. Here are three good reasons that you need to encourage your children to play outside.
Children of all ages should get their daily dose of physical activity outdoors. Studies have shown that playing outside helps children build up vitamin D levels, which boosts bone density. In addition, playing outdoors burns extra calories while strengthening muscles. Running, kicking and throwing activities improve motor skills, making them less prone to injury. While any amount of outdoor play has a risk of injuries, you should encourage your children to run around more and get out their energy.
They Need to Socialize
Going outside isn’t only about running around or playing on the swings. Unstructured play gives children a chance to express themselves without barriers. Interacting with other children boosts social skills and also helps them develop executive functioning skills. This playtime helps to set the stage for a lifetime of successful socializing.
It Reduces Stress
Believe it or not, children feel stress too. Growing up isn’t easy, especially once kids are prepubescent. But even before that, children can experience social stressors at home and school. Spending more time outdoors helps to relieve stress by removing them from what’s making them feel unhappy. They don’t need to be hiking through the woods to reap the benefits, either. Simply playing in the backyard after school can help them feel better.
Getting your children outside is easier than you think, even for older children who want to spend time with their parents doing their favorite outdoor activities. Think of ways you can make the idea more appealing to older children. Even if they protest initially, it’s for their own good.
Want to schedule an outdoor play event for children at your school? Contact us to plan an event!