In the modern world with technology all around, it’s easy to overlook the benefits of outdoor play. In the US, children are far more likely to be found on a screen than enjoying unstructured play outdoors, with an average of more than seven hours per day compared to just seven minutes in the fresh air.
If you don’t have a yard, outdoor play can take a little more planning but it’s possible wherever you are. Here are just a few of the reasons why spending time outdoors is so beneficial for kids.
Enhances Sensory Development
The world is a sensory place and never more so than to children. Youngsters love to be immersed in new sights, sounds and smells, as well as having the opportunity to explore with their sense of touch.
While it’s possible to enjoy some sensory play indoors, nothing really beats being outside. Ophthalmologists have confirmed that kids who regularly enjoy time outdoors have better distance vision than their peers who spend more time inside.
Outdoor play involves the full spectrum of the senses, from the watery delights of puddles to the fragrant stimulation of a flower in bloom. In the right place, your child could even have the chance to sample berries from a bush. The only limit to outdoor sensory play is the imagination and it’s a delight seeing a child wonder at the world around them.
Improved Attention Span
Children aren’t renowned for their ability to concentrate for long periods so anything which can help in this area is worth trying!
Indoor activities tend to require lower levels of initiation and don’t demand the same ability to follow through. As a result, children who spend more time playing outside demonstrate a greater willingness to participate in new activities and are able to concentrate on a task for longer.
Such are the benefits of outdoor play, even children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) show a reduction in their symptoms when given the chance to play outside regularly.
Better Physical Health
As parents, we all spend a lot of time worrying about the wellbeing of our children and trying to do everything possible to keep them in good health. However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, many youngsters are suffering from a deficiency in their levels of Vitamin D. As Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, it’s a real concern.
The good news is there is an easy way to resolve this and that’s by exposure to sunlight. Playing outside in natural sunlight quickly builds up reserves up Vitamin D and improves health.
Of course, there are many other physical benefits to outdoor play too. The ability to run, jump, throw balls, lift and carry develops co-ordination and motor skills, as well as strengthening the muscles and bones. Obesity is a growing concern in the US, but children who play outside burn off extra calories easily and can maintain a healthy weight with no effort.
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There’s nothing better than seeing children who are happy, healthy and having fun and as parents, that’s what we all want. Visit Rabbi Rovinsky’s website regularly for the latest top tips and advice.