Cut Back on Screen Time: 6 Benefits of Outdoor Play

Why spend so much time cooped up in the house behind all your techno gadgets, when the outdoors has so much to offer you and your child? It truly makes you wonder what happened to good old-fashioned (gadget-free) family fun. So, it’s time to unplug, disconnect, cut the wires and go play outside. Let your kiddos shake-out their sillies and reap the benefits of outdoor play.

Here are some reasons why outdoor playtime is so vital.

1. Fresh Air is Good for You!

Did you know that your recycled indoor air can be full of dust and contaminants? Get up close and personal with nature as you play outdoors, and allow your children to breathe clean, fresh oxygen.

2. Open Spaces Encourage Activity

Taking young children outdoors to play encourages family bonding. Don’t just watch the kids – jump in and participate in their games. Praise your youngster when they shout, “look how far I threw the ball,” or, “look how high I can jump!” Build their self-confidence and social development as you play together and invent new games.

3. Outdoor Activity Improves Health

Playing outdoors can help to reverse the effects of unhealthy eating habits and inactivity. All that running, jumping, and climbing engages your youngsters in strength training and aerobic exercise and helps them burn off excess energy while using their large motor muscles. Just think about how many steps there are when climbing to the top of a slide – that’s a workout in itself. And, as every parent knows, your kiddo will want to repeat these fun activities multiple times.

Your little athlete is also receiving a good amount of vitamin D from the sun. Studies show that this vitamin D is a precursor to good health. And believe it or not, spending time outdoors improves eye health too!

4. Nature Reduces Stress in Children

[caption id="attachment_37428" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Happy children playing head over heels on green grass in spring park[/caption]

Movement and serene natural settings helps mental clarity and reduces stress in kids. There’s a reason they tell you to imagine a large green field or beach with rolling waves when you’re doing yoga, it’s the same principle. And when playing outdoors, let kids be kids. Be loud, be boisterous – no inside voices required. Just let loose and have fun!

5. Outside Play Fosters Creativity

Do you remember how much fun you had as a child with pretend play? Why not drape a large sheet over a swing set or between two trees? Voila, you and your child have just created a gigantic fort, castle, or superhero hideout. Add a few stuffed animals as guards and you’re sure to make memories that will last a lifetime.

6. Outdoor Activities Tickle the Senses

Think about how your child’s innate curiosity is stimulated by the clouds, birds, squirrels, trees, puddles, wind, and changing leaves – the list is endless. Stimulation of our senses enhances learning and fosters continued curiosity. Spending time outdoors throughout the seasons is an effective way to spark your child’s senses in new ways.

These are just a few of the many benefits of outdoor play. So, turn off the TV, close the computer, and power down that video game console for some quality time playing in the sunshine. This just may turn into a good habit! To learn more about the benefits of outdoor play or to experience the benefits for yourself, check out some of the awesome imaginative play equipment we have to offer!