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Outdoor Activities Are Important for Children’s Brain Development and Fitness

There are many reasons why getting your kids outside to play can be difficult. Tablets and screens are becoming a household staple and can be hard to pull a child away from. You may not have a yard or other safe outdoor play area near your home. Even though it can seem impossible, getting your kids up and out the door for at least 1-2 hours per day can significantly improve their health and well-being in various ways. Read on to learn about all the great outdoors has to offer.

Increased Attention

Children who get regular time outdoors are generally more self-directed, curious, and can stick with an activity for a longer period of time. Most indoor tasks or games don’t require initiation from the child and they are less likely to follow-through in new activities. Outdoor fun usually involves creativity, invention, social interaction, and organizational skills. Utilizing these skills often helps prevent or control childhood attention disorders. Studies have shown that children who spent a significant amount of time outdoors exhibited fewer symptoms of ADD or ADHD.

Builds Strength and Physical Health

The aerobic and strength-building exercises kids can benefit from while playing outside can’t be beaten. Running, jumping, skipping, climbing, catching and throwing require the development of many fine motor skills and strengthens children’s’ muscles and bones. The extra calories burned help keep pediatric diseases like obesity and juvenile diabetes at bay. The natural landscape of the outdoors like water, sand, hills, or snow offer fun, strength building obstacles for kids of all ages. So, grab those flippers or kids snow boots and get to playing!

Better Moods and Sleep

It’s long been known that some fresh air, sunlight, and free play can drastically reduce stress levels in both kids and adults.  Unstructured play helps children express their creativity, display initiative, and develop positive behavioral skills. Getting outside to play can help kids feel happier and more confident. Being outdoors at various times throughout the day can also help your child’s internal clock find a happy rhythm and improve sleep habits. Well-rested children can often lead to kids with better moods and less behavioral issues.

Less Sick Visits

While it may seem like the outdoors is full of harmful bacteria or viruses that can get your kids sick, keeping your children in contact with the outdoor elements can actually help improve your child’s immunity. Sunlight helps stimulate the pineal gland which plays a big role in keeping the immune system healthy and functioning. Mild exposure to dirt and germs can actually help your kids develop immunity to minor bugs or allergens and decrease the number of infections they experience in the long run. Getting out of the house and into the fresh air can help improve respiratory health as well and give children a break from stuffy indoor heating or air conditioning.  

Improved Sensory Skills

It’s no question that being outdoors can stimulate a child’s senses more than being stuck between four walls can. The opportunity to learn through sensory experience is heightened when kids play outside. Smelling tree sap or a bed of flowers, splashing in puddles, sighting new animals for the first time, or eating fruit straight from the family garden are all outdoor events that can boost your child’s sensory skills. It has even been shown that children who play outside regularly have better distance vision than kids who spend more time indoors than out. While hearing and sight are usually the only senses being used when children spend time watching television or on an electronic device, being outside employs all five senses and enhances perceptual abilities.

Getting your kids off the video games and into nature can feel like a losing battle.

But there are loads of creative ways you can coax your children outside. Try using these invaluable health and wellness benefits as an incentive to help your children find the joy in being outdoors.