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Outdoor play is important!

Posted on April 15, 2017 at 11:45 AM

Health benefits

- Children who play outside regularly are happier, healthier, and stronger

- Immune system is stronger due to exposure to environment

- Sun exposure produces Vitamin D in the body

- Outdoor play can help prevent nearsightedness

- Children who play outdoors at school are more likely to play outdoors at home

- Children who enjoy the outdoors are more likely to enjoy hiking, jogging, biking, climbing, and other healthy outdoor activities as adults.

- Children who play more outdoors spend less time sedentary with screens (watching TV, playing video games, etc)

 

- Playgrounds are a fun and easy way for children to move/exercise and challenge their body

- Children naturally have more energy than adults, and need to move around, run, and play creatively. Playing outdoors is a great way for them to relieve the stress of sitting still for too long.


Development benefits

- Imagination and creativity are stimulated by being outside - this leads to better brain development

- Children learn basic physics - gravity, heat/cold, how water mixes with dirt and makes mud, which objects float in water, etc.

- Learn through senses - there are so many things to see, hear, smell, touch, and even taste outside

- Gain spatial awareness as they move through the environment

- Gain motor development - climb and jump off objects, ride a tricycle, walk on tiptoes, throw/kick balls, etc.


Social benefits

- Learn how to make friends and interact socially, and to work together and share with a friend

- Learn independently (without a parent’s direct guidance)

- Engage with and learn from older children, even if they are not directly playing with them

 

Overall happiness benefits

- Children learn to enjoy their environment

- Children become more self-sufficient as they learn to entertain themselves; less tendency toward boredom later in life

- Sun exposure reduces depression

- Children can yell, laugh, run, and really let go of pent-up emotions


Types of play outdoors

- Physical play - running, climbing, riding tricycle, scooters, throwing/kicking balls, digging, balancing, sliding, rolling, crawling, swinging, obstacle course

- Constructive play - water table, sand box, art, blocks, toys that stack / fit together, gardening, nature walk

- Social play - pushing another child on a swing, pulling a wagon with another child in it, constructive play together, having a picnic / tea party, parachute play

- Dramatic play - using imagination to create scenarios - play houses, forts, etc.

- Games with rules - red light green light, Simon says, follow the leader, ring around the rosy, duck duck goose, tag, etc.

 

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