Getting your kids to play outside isn't just fun -- it's good for them! Here are 3 health and social benefits that come from getting your kids outside.
Promotes Social Skills
We believe that getting kids to play outside -- and, specifically, engaging in unstructured (open end) play -- promotes a wide range of skills:
"On a playground, not everyone gets to go down the slide first. Going to a playground with your kids is not just about running around and being active, but it's also about learning social skills, executive functions, and behavioural skills as well through play."
In fact, the University of Missouri-Kansas' School of Education found that outdoor play has many brain-boosting benefits for kids, starting in infancy. The paper explains that outside play fosters "social, emotional, and cognitive competencies" in kids, including strengthening the language and communication interactions between young children who play together at the park.
When it comes to stress, Legendre tends to rely on natural remedies: "Spending time outside playing is such a huge outlet for stress. It's relaxing; it is healing," she said.
And there's data to back this up. In 2014, researchers from the University of Colorado teamed up with educators from Maryland and Colorado to study the effects that green schoolyards had on children's stress levels and resilience. They made the argument that increasing children's exposure to green outdoor spaces (e.g., lush playgrounds) could help decrease children's' stress levels by offering them an escape from life's daily routine. The study said that kids who play outside found "peace away from stresses in the classroom and daily life."
Increases Vitamin D Levels
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that vitamin D offers us several health benefits, such as strengthening bone health and helping to prevent diabetes and heart disease. In order to stave off vitamin D deficiencies in children, the Cleveland Clinic strongly urges parents and child care providers to make sure that their kids receive a healthy dose of the nutrient starting at birth. There are vitamin D supplements that you can take, but you can also get it through a free and natural version: sunlight.
Credits for collecting this research to the website care.com the positive impact of playing outside on children.