Benefits of Outdoor Play

I travel around my local area for numerous reasons. Every time I drive by the local community park, I never see any children outside playing. In my opinion, an empty park is just sad. The playground equipment is up to date. I just cannot understand why more children are not spending more time outdoors. I guess, I am finally showing my lack of understanding in the different generations. Otherwards, my middle age is finally showing.



Obviously, I am a huge advocate for spending time outdoors at any age. Being outdoors is one of the biggest memories of my childhood. I believe, we should advocate for playing and exploring outdoors. Playing at the local park or hiking in nature has numerous benefits for children (and adults).

Improves Creativity

Being outdoors can actually improve creativity. Exploring and learning about the natural world creates a sense of wonder. As I begin to write, I realize a lot of my stories have traces of my childhood imagination.

Increases Socialization

Children who play outdoors with their peers develop social skills. The simple act of playing allows children to communicate with others on the playground or nature trail. Children learn to develop leadership skills through random socialization. Active interaction can turn into a game, promoting social and behavioral skills in children.

Even though my siblings are a lot younger than me, there were always extra children around. The neighbor kids and my cousins were always around especially during the summer months. We would spend a lot of time playing. During the times of play, we (reluctantly at times) learned the value of sharing, communicating and taking turns.

Provides a Way to Reduce Stress

Like adults, children can experience stress. Spending time outdoors can help in reducing stress levels. After sitting in a classroom all day, I use to love coming home and being outdoors. Being outside an hour before dinner, homework and nightly routine provided enough time to just relax.

Promotes Healthy Traits

Being outdoors increases vitamin D intake. Various types of research prove the natural intake of vitamin D can help prevent bone disease and diabetes. The simple act of going outdoors increases movement.

When I ask my mother why she would send us outdoors all the time, she replies, “to make you sleep better.” Releasing all the pent up energy from being in a classroom does help improve focus and regulate sleep patterns.



My advice is spend as much time as possible outdoors. I understand work and commitment schedules can be tight at times. But I truly feel the benefits of spending at least 20 minutes a day outdoors is worth the hassle. Children can play and learn. Adults can unwind and enjoy the time with family.

 






  • Comments

    1. Profile photo of Pat Z Anthony
      Pat Z Anthony

      It is great that your mother said to make you sleep better. So many young people today have issues with sleep, but they spend so much time looking at a computer screen! No wonder-

    2. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
      Kyla Matton Osborne

      People blame kids’ inactivity on all the tech they have access to, but I can tell you it’s not the only reason many kids don’t play outside anymore. Have you seen how much homework elementary school teachers assign? And then there are all the after-school activities, the dance classes and sports, the guiding or scouting activities and for many children, tutoring or some sort of therapy that must be done outside of school hours because the schools can’t provide it.

      One of the worst things to come out of our generation is this bubble-wrap approach to rearing children. Even if a parent wants to send older children to the park to play in a small group, nosy neighbours will call the police or Child Services to report them. And by the time parents are done working a full shift, supervising homework, running kids to appointments and meetings, and taking care of their own errands, there’s no daylight left for outdoor play!

    3. Profile photo of Rebecca
      Rebecca Post author

      Good point. I do agree full schedules and appointments tend to keep children indoors. I also know paents who would rather have their children stay indoors to watch television than make the extra effort of outdoor supervision.

    4. Profile photo of Gil Camporazo
      Gil Camporazo

      In our place, the Philippines, we do encourage children to play outdoor games. Every school in our country has providing a space for children’s playground. Kids are energetic and they want to play, horse playing around, Control them and they will feel disparage. As what the saying says “let not the kid and he will become dull.”

    5. Profile photo of Andria Perry
      Andria Perry

      We were outside every day that we were allowed by mom, we played in our own yard and yes I do believe it develops the imagination. I would not trade my childhood of playing outside for anything.

      The schools should enforce P.E. once again, its sad that some schools are discontinuing this daily period.

      I pinned and stumbled this article.

    6. Profile photo of Rex Trulove
      Rex Trulove

      I grew up at a time when we went outside if we didn’t want to be bored. In fact, we had no choice but go outside for most of the day, because mom wouldn’t allow us to stay inside unless the weather was too bad or we were sick.

      It’s interesting..I shared a picture and saying on FB today that said, “Remember when all we needed to have a great day was the woods and our imagination?”. Boy was that ever true!

    7. Profile photo of
      Jacky Hughes

      I totally agree with what you say. I would happily spend a day out playing Unfortunately, I am now nervous of children playing out on their own, as are many parents and that limits the time spent in the fresh air.

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