In today’s digital age, children are spending more and more time indoors attached to their TVs, smartphones, and other devices. However, this sedentary lifestyle can have a negative impact on their mental and physical health. It can also lead to childhood obesity. On the other hand, playing outdoor games can significantly improve children’s overall well-being, including their physical health and social skills. As a parent, it is important to know the numerous benefits of playing outdoor games.
Here are 10 surprising benefits of outdoor games for kids:
1. Opportunity to Learn Something New
Playing outdoor games and engaging in outdoor activities can be a great way for children to improve their learning skills. They can learn important life lessons and skills, develop problem-solving attitudes, explore nature, acquire new information, and learn basic science concepts. When children learn outside by organizing activities, they don’t think of learning as a continuous and boring activity in the classroom.
2. Promotes Physical Growth
Outdoor play keeps children active and can improve their fitness and strength. Playing outside can also boost their muscles and bones, increase immunity, and lower the risk of many diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and improve mood. Furthermore, vitamin D can be naturally obtained by being in the fresh air and sunshine. In contrast, excessive exposure to electronic gadgets can affect children’s vision for a longer period. However, outdoor play can improve their vision.
3. Encourages Greater Openness to Parents and Caretakers
When children are indoors, they often feel confined and may compete with other children such as schoolmates or siblings. This environment can be loud and overwhelming, and it can be intimidating and calming, especially for younger children. This can discourage them from opening up and sharing with their caregivers. Spending time outside can help children feel less overwhelmed and compete less for attention with others. This feeling that a child has a space to move and breathe often makes the child more willing to open up and talk to its parent and caregiver about things.
4. Helps Develop Social Skills and Abilities
In contrast to children who remain indoors and are isolated, children who spend time outdoors and play games with each other tend to interact effectively with other kids. Parents should encourage their children to play with other children, especially when they spend more time indoors and become more introverted. When children make new friends and turn to play or talk with each other without any adult supervision, their social and communication skills are developed and enhanced without them realizing it. In the future, this ability can help them.
5. Increases Self-Awareness
Children playing outdoors tend to develop more vital thinking and monitoring skills. A playground activity such as swinging has many physical benefits for children, but it also allows them to explore the world from a different viewpoint. It demonstrates how to understand the space in which they are and the concept of “cause and effect” as they can see what happens when an adult pushes them.
6. Helps Develop Personality
Outdoor play helps in the child’s personality development. They become more self-sufficient and independent. They also learn how to handle emergencies and reversals without the supervision of adults. This makes them confident and equips them later to deal with life situations. Outdoor play also helps them develop discipline, sport, and leadership qualities, which are functional later in life.
7. Utilizes All Five Senses
Preschool children who watch a lot of TV only use two senses – sight and hearing. This can limit their ability to process and respond to sensory stimuli as they grow. In contrast, children playing outside use all their senses while exploring the open air, including taste, as they catch snowflakes or raindrops on their tongues. This familiarizes younger children with a variety of sensory experiences, allowing them to process them more effectively as they continue to grow and develop.
8. Enhances Motor Abilities
Outdoor play has been shown to enhance children’s motor skills, including coordination, balance, and agility, more than their indoor peers. Children who play outside tend to enjoy walking, running, and biking activities. They have space to run, walk, jump, hop, and throw when they are outside. Furthermore, they can ride bicycles and hop under bushes to develop fine motor skills. By enabling them to test and extend their physical abilities, they strengthen their bodies and become confident in their movements. Extended outdoor time can also offer children, and athletes the opportunity and space to practice sports such as batting, kicking, and catching, whatever their need for the sports they learn.
9. Develops a Sense of Autonomy
Children who play outside have been shown to develop a sense of independence. Although a parent is usually close by, children generally feel free when they are in the park and don’t experience this freedom anywhere else. Without adults breathing down their necks, they have the opportunity to explore and take calculated risks. They can invent games with their friends, explore their limits, and figure out what they can do. The resulting confidence will help them learn and grow as they continue.
10. Helps with Brain Growth
When children run outside, they invent games, explore the world around them, and feel independent. In addition to developing these autonomous sentiments, they develop their organizational capacities and decision-making skills by developing games, resolving problems, and implementing their ideas and solutions. They work individually and with their peers. Children also learn about how important it is to create and follow the rules while playing.
Outdoor play can motivate children to play outdoor games and sports if parents make it more fun for them. Parents could try picking up favorite toys for their child, such as modeling clay, cars, a ball, etc., and encouraging them to explore and play differently with them outside. Outdoor games give children the opportunity to experience the environment with all their senses. The benefits of outdoor play are that it improves a child’s concentration, observation skills, and gross motor skills in a natural environment. Make sure to let children know the benefits of playing outdoor games, and encourage them to spend more time outside. By doing so, parents can help their children develop physically, socially, and mentally, leading to a healthy and happy childhood.