Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Benefits of Outdoor Play

As the days are starting to get colder, my boys are mourning the loss of their outdoor play time. My boys love to be outside. In fact, some days its all I can do to keep them inside long enough to do their chores. During the warmer months my boys will usually spend about an hour outside before lunch, and then another 1-2 hours outside in the afternoon. Then in the evening, we are usually outside as a family for another hour or so. I am the kind of a mom that goes outside with my kids.  We play together, or they play while I do yard work. 
I recently read an article about the importance of outdoor play.(I would link the article up, but I cannot remember the source since I read it while in a hospital waiting room!)  The article suggested that there was new research linking the amount of time a child spends outside to higher IQ.  This piqued my interest and I began doing a little research on the benefits of outdoor play.
  • Being outdoors stimulates the synthesis of Vitamin D (just remember to put on sunscreen after the first five minutes outdoors!)
  • Outdoor play has been linked to improved attention spans and self-control
  • Vigorous activity outside has been linked to lower stress levels
  • Children who spend time outside are said to have greater creativity
  • According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, outdoor play in childhood helps decrease risks for Type II Diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease
  • Kids have the opportunity to socialize with other kids outdoors.  I know this is true for my boys because almost every time we step outside, we soon have neighbor kids playing in our yard.
  • Encourages development of gross motor skills.  When kids are running, jumping, digging, and riding bikes, they have an opportunity to develop and refine these skills. It also helps them develop coordination.
  • Helps children develop perceptual abilities
  • Helps them learn about the world around them through real life experiences. 
Most nights my kids come inside full of sand and giggles.  Although it can be frustrating to clean up after them, I am thankful that they've had the experience of being outside and enjoying life. I am thankful that they aren't spending their time in front of the television, computer, or gaming device.

So if you are able, get outside and enjoy some time with your little ones! Its so important for their development, and you may even find yourself enjoying it as well.

1 comment:

  1. Those are some great key points on why outdoor play is great! Rowan is a little obsessed with playing outdoors right now and I'm glad to hear there are so many benefits.