A Look at Some of The Benefits of Outdoor Play for Children in Playgrounds, Parks, And Natural Settings
Aside from having fun and being imaginative, there are many other advantages of outdoor play for children. From the vast benefits of physical activity to the effects of being outside and in nature, there are many reasons why children should play outside as much as possible. And if the weather isn’t nice, you can always bring your children to an indoor playground for physical and social activities.
Outdoor play can benefit children in the following ways:
Studies have found that children who play outside experience improved distance vision compared to children who mostly play indoors. This could possibly be due to the effects of prolonged time spent in front of TV and computer screens for those who play indoors more often.
Children who have unstructured play time outdoors learn positive social skills while playing amongst friends and peers. Children learn to share the playground space, take turns, and develop appropriate social behaviours.
Improves Attention Span
Outdoor play, especially in green natural settings, can improve attention spans for children and reduce ADHD symptoms. Nature has less distracting stimuli so children will not become tired and lose attention as quickly outside as they would staring at a flashing TV or computer screen.
Reduces Stress Levels
Physical activity and outdoor play helps relax children and reduce their stress levels. Exercise can elevate moods while the outdoors can be soothing with the fresh air, greenery, and sunshine. If children are experiencing stress, they can expend their negative energy with outdoor play.
Increase Vitamin D Intake
Sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, which is important for children’s development. Vitamin D contributes to healthy bones, improved moods, and reducing the risks of diabetes and heart disease. A few minutes in the sun each day can give children a good dose of vitamin D. However, for children who have fair skin and are prone to sunburns after a short period of time outside, consider using vitamin D supplements instead of letting your child in the sun without protection.
Although sunlight provides a natural source of vitamin D, children must be well protected from the sun’s harmful rays while playing outside. To avoid harmful sunburns that can cause severe pain and increase the risk of melanoma, make sure your children wear hats, sunglasses, and long sleeves.
If it is too hot for long sleeves, apply sunblock frequently—every two hours, or more if your child is swimming, sweating, or playing in water. Use SPF 15 or higher with broad-spectrum protection (blocks both UVA and UVB rays), and apply the sunblock at least 30 minutes prior to your child going outside so the lotion will be absorbed in the skin properly.
Make the most out of outdoor play this summer with your children at a playground or out in nature. Playing outside has many advantages, especially when compared to staying in to watch TV or play video games.