Why It’s Important to Play Outdoors

May 5, 2019
Children in the 21st century are immersed in technology and often don't play outdoors. For parents, it's easy to have them locked up in the house. However, there are countless benefits to playing outside that all parents should keep in mind.

Play is essential in children’s lives. However, more and more children in cities stop playing outdoors. By doing that, they deprive themselves of the benefits that playing outside provides for their physical, mental and emotional health.

Children nowadays spend most of their free time watching television, playing video games or online. Plus, it’s more comfortable for parents that their kids are at home or in their room. That way, they can play without any supervision. Unfortunately, however, our comfort has deprived children of the joy of playing outdoors.

This adds to kids’ addiction to video games and other electronic devices. This naturally affects children in big cities even more.

Play Outdoors: The Antidote to Nature-Deficit Disorder

When kids play outdoors, they get to interact with nature.

Not having contact with nature in the 21st century has led psychologists to talk about the existence of Nature-Deficit Disorder. This discomfort is associated with problems like lack of concentration, hyperactivity, obesity, depression and anxiety. 

The way to fix this problem is actually very simple: just allow children to spend time in nature. The simple act of breathing fresh air, crawling on the lawn, running in the trees, smelling flowers or watching birds is so important for children to experience.

Additionally, playing in the open air allows them to relax and have a moment of peace.That’s a nice change of pace from electronic devices and games. Therefore, this improves their attention and concentration skills, which are fundamental to do well in school and life.

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Outdoor Play is Great for Kids of All Ages (and Adults!)

You don’t have to wait until kids are old enough to play outside. Even as babies, kids can play outdoors. Even if they’re asleep, babies can benefit from being taken on a walk in the park, a natural area or the garden.

Kids will remember these pleasant feelings forever. As they grow up, children love to play outdoors. They can see the sun, feel the breeze, smell the scents and hear the sounds of nature. Nature gives them contact with a lot of new situations and lessons. These are hardly comparable to the information overload they get from the internet or video games.

In turn, parents also benefit from spending time in nature. We release stress, give our brain a break, and share happy moments of fun with our family. Therefore, we all can strengthen the bond of love that we share with our children when we play outdoors.

Before you leave, check out: The Most Fun and Effective Outdoor Exercises

Why It’s Important for Kids to Play Outdoors

Outdoor games have lots of benefits for babies, children, and adolescents. Of course, parents do need to keep an eye on them so they don’t get hurt. If children are going to play in a very large park, a beach or a field, you also need to watch them so they don’t get lost.

That said, let’s take a quick look at some of the amazing benefits of outdoor play for children:

  • Children feel free while they play, even when their parents are nearby. This is completely different from playing in a house.
  • Playing outdoors improves physical development. Kids can exercise, run, jump and develop new skills.
  • The extra physical activity allows them to release energy and tension. Therefore, they come home much more relaxed and can sleep better.
  • It’s also possible to prevent childhood obesity, since they burn lots of calories in a natural and healthy way when they play outside.
  • Plus, playing outdoors fuels imagination and creativity. Children invent new games, and they may even make them up with just some sticks or stones.
  • Contact with nature makes their immune system stronger. They become more resistant to all types of bacteria and dust.
  • Children learn to adapt to various weather conditions, from the sun, to rain and wind.
  • Meanwhile, contact with the sun is essential to absorb vitamin D and calcium, which strengthens children’s growing bones.
  • Ideally, they come in contact with other children when they play outside, which helps them socialize. This helps them make friends, manage their emotions and any fights that may happen.
  • For teenagers, going camping is a great activity, Not only do they benefit from contact with nature, but it also invites them to take on new responsibilities.
Kids learn to adapt to all types of whether when they play outdoors.

A Final Reflection on Why Kids Should Play Outdoors

Playing outdoors also provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy family time. Parents and children, including extended family like grandparents, uncles and cousins, all benefit from it. You can spend time in the shade of a tree, next to a flowing river, or on the side of a mountain.

Organize family plans that help everyone enjoy nature and share precious moments together with their loved ones. All of the effort will surely be worth it.