There are many reasons kids should play outside, from expressing creativity to running freely to making messes without worrying about dirtying the house. In addition to these fun reasons, there are also many health benefits that make outdoor play great for children. Us homeschoolers love teaching outside for a variety of reasons, but children in all types of school (and their parents) will find a wealth of benefits from enjoying some fun in the sun on a regular basis:
1. Increases Attention Span:
Children who play outside have a high attention span comparatively speaking, and much more self-directed (they want to investigate things), where other kids might just sit back.” Studies have also shown that green outdoor settings appear to reduce ADHD symptoms in children. Exposure to natural settings through after-school and weekend activities may be widely effective in reducing attention deficit symptoms in children.
2. Promotes Social Skills:
Getting kids outside and having unstructured play promotes a wide range of skills. On a playground, not everyone gets to go down the slide first. Going to a playground with your kids is not just about running around and being active, but it’s also about learning social skills, executive functions, and behavioral skills as well through play.
3. Reduces Stress:
When it comes to stress, some of us tend to rely on natural remedies. Spending time outside playing is such a huge outlet for stress. It’s relaxing; it is healing. There is even research showing that seeing green spaces can help decrease kids’ stress levels.
4. Improves Vision:
A study reported by Optometry and Vision Science found that children who spend time outside have better distance vision than those who primarily play indoors.
5. Provides Vitamin D:
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, lots of kids are suffering from vitamin D deficiencies. This vitamin has several health benefits, including preventing kids from future bone problems, diabetes, and even heart disease. Vitamin D can be received by supplement, but you can also get it through its free and natural version: sunlight. Have your kids play outside for a few minutes without sunscreen (which blocks cancer-causing rays, but also vitamin D). Then slather on the lotion. Of course, if your child burns easily, use the sunscreen and increase the vitamin D-heavy foods and supplements.
What are you waiting for?
Let’s those kids cut loose and get dirty, catch some rays and enjoy the long-term benefits of playing outside. Playing in the mud is definitely #NoniTribe approved!