It’s no secret that being outdoors is extremely beneficial for children’s health, aiding their cognitive, emotional and physical development. Being outside gives children the chance to breathe fresh air to clear their respiratory systems, receive vitamin D from the sunlight and experience the beauty of the natural world.
There are also many other reasons why being outdoors is beneficial for children’s health. Here are 6 of the best reasons to encourage your children to be active outdoors.
- Being in a natural environment reduces stress levels: Research has shown that spending time amongst trees and natural scenery can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels and ward off depression. With the pressures of school, exams and growing-up in general , your child may be feeling the negative effects of stress. A long walk, a picnic in the park, or a day trip to a farm park are some of the best ways to reduce this stress and refresh your child’s mind.
- Outdoor play improves physical health: Being outdoors is essential for pre-school children as it affords them the freedom they need to practice and develop emerging motor skills such as running, jumping and leaping. There is also plenty of space to practice other skills such as playing sports involving a ball (throwing, catching and kicking), pushing a swing or roundabout and moving larger items around a designated space. Playing outdoors also burns more calories than indoor play which tends to be less energetic. This contributes to preventing obesity and boosting the immune system.
- Playing outside improves creativity: Encouraging children to get outside and switch off gaming systems, computers and mobile phones that seem to dictate many areas of life improves their creativity. The outdoor environment requires children to use their imagination more, whether it’s inventing games, climbing trees or making art from leaves and flowers. Nature provides all of the raw materials needed to have fun – children just need to use their imaginations to transform them.
- Being outdoors improves social skills: Many outdoor activities have a positive impact on children’s social and interpersonal skills. For example, sports played outside encourage team work, listening skills and help boost self-esteem.
- Being outdoors improves aesthetic development: Particularly for pre-school and early years’ children – being outdoors is vital to improving aesthetic awareness. Young children learn through their senses which are stimulated more when outdoors. From hearing the different sounds of nature (birds singing, trees blowing in the wind, insects buzzing) to seeing the different colours in the changing leaves of Autumn- nature can really help to heighten children’s abilities of perception.
Burn off excess energy: Children are excitable and have a lot of extra energy. Trying to contain them in an indoor space is a stressful situation for all involved so why not let them outdoors where they can be loud, boisterous, messy and most importantly- playful!