Video games, TV, phone games, it’s easier than ever for children to spend the day indoors and not get bored. While this may save you a headache as a parent when the weather is bad, you don’t want indoor time to get out of hand. Science is starting to show that regular outdoor play is an essential part of healthy childhood growth. Find out why that is and how you can make it happen.
What Does Outside Play Do for The Kids?
This may surprise you, but even outside play in the winter may not be a bad idea. Here are some of the different ways playing outdoors can help them:
Social Skills: Experts have determined that outside play has many benefits for children, ranging all the way down to infancy. This includes “social, emotional, and cognitive competencies,” according to the University of Missouri-Kansas’ School of Education. Try to get your children’s friends or family members in on the outdoor fun for the most benefits.
Exercise: Less than 10 percent of children in Canada are getting the daily exercise that they need. Sports and other physical hobbies are great options, but you can just as easily meet this number with regular outdoor play.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is something that we primarily get from sunlight, and while supplements can help us close the gap, the sun is generally the best source, especially for growing children. This supports better moods, energy levels, memory, and overall health in general. In fact, it may not be a bad idea for you to spend some time outdoors as well to make sure you’re getting your daily dose.
What Options Do I Have?
The good news about encouraging kids to have fun outside is that you have no shortage of things to choose from. Walking a nature trail with your children can be turned into a learning opportunity and isn’t overly exhausting for you. Taking your children to a communal playground means they have the chance to interact with others. Outdoor sports take these same ideas and put them in a formal context. However, all of these require a bit of pre-planning, which can be difficult if you are busy with work or other distractions. This begs the question: how can I get my kids to play outside without planning a formal outing?
At younger ages, kids are good at making their own fun, but if you want to get the full benefits of physical activity, you want to make sure that their outside time is balanced. This means aerobic exercise, strength-building exercise, as well as an opportunity for social play. That’s a lot to ask for if you are short on time. This may sound like a lot of work to put together, but there is one option that can do it all at once: outdoor playsets from Funscapes.
An outdoor playset has evolved beyond just a simple swing set (though that’s still a classic). Look out for rock climbing walls, monkey bars, slides, trapeze bars, even chalkboards for little ones to get artistic while they play. And to think—this is only scratching the surface.