Being stuck inside on rainy days can be an unwelcome treat, but you might be surprised to learn how much it can hurt your child’s health and development if they spend all their time inside. Studies have shown that children who spend more time outside are less likely to develop asthma, obesity, and depression than children who spend most of their time indoors, and more likely to be more physically active and less likely to suffer from anxiety or attention issues later in life. Here are five reasons why outdoor play matters so much for kids.
1) The Benefits of Sunlight
The sun’s ultraviolet rays are necessary for the production of vitamin D, which helps your body fight off infection. The sun also helps regulate your circadian rhythm, which means it can help you sleep better at night. Vitamin D also contributes to good bone health by helping with calcium absorption and reducing inflammation in your joints.
Sunlight can also have a positive effect on mood as people who live in areas that are exposed to more sunlight tend to feel happier than those who don’t have much exposure to natural light.
2) Physical Activity
- Physical Activity- Studies have shown that kids who are more active grow taller, have higher endurance, have better self-esteem, and lower rates of obesity than those who don’t.
- Developmental Skills – Playing outside helps kids develop social skills like cooperation, communication and problem solving. They also learn how to follow directions when it’s time to help set up a game of capture the flag or round up everyone for a game of freeze tag.
- Good for Self Esteem – Kids with strong self esteem do better in school, have fewer mental health problems and feel more confident in themselves as they get older.
- Learning Tools – Children need lots of chances to explore and investigate their world without boundaries so they can learn about different things and make sense of what’s happening around them.
3) Reduced screen time
- Children who spend less time on screens have better attention spans and are able to focus more easily.
- Exposing children to nature gives them a sense of appreciation for all of its wonders, which can in turn make them more empathetic towards others.
- Children who play outdoors with their friends tend to be more social than those who play inside alone, which could lead them to find better friends and avoid loneliness later in life.
4) Reduced exposure to chemicals, mold, dust, etc.
Kids spend a lot of time indoors these days. When they do go outside, it’s often in the backyard where there are plenty of plants and other things to touch. But our yards are filled with all sorts of different chemicals, mold, dust, etc. that can get on kids hands which can then be ingested when they eat or put their hands near their mouths. Not only that but many schools have been closed due to being so polluted by nearby factories.
What we really need is more outdoor play!
5) A chance to connect with nature
It’s no secret that children are spending more time indoors than ever before. The Centers for Disease Control reports that children spend an average of 7 hours a day looking at screens, with only 27 minutes of physical activity per day. With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to give kids a chance to play outdoors whenever possible.