From organized team sports to a friendly neighborhood game of hide and seek, there are several benefits that come from children playing outside.
On average, American children spend four to seven minutes a day in unstructured outdoor play compared to seven hours or more in the house in front of a screen. Outdoor play seems to have become a thing of the past.
There are several ways in which this generation’s childhood is different from the previous generation. One thing that stands out most is the sheer amount of time today’s children spend indoors. With electronic devices and an almost unlimited supply of ways to watch television, kids are spending less time than ever outdoors.
There are other reasons kids spend less time outdoors. For example, concerns about sun exposure, heat illness and an emphasis on scheduled activities are all reasons why children are stuck indoors more often.
And it’s not just the children who are spending less time in the great outdoors, adults are spending less time out there as well.
Researchers are beginning to fully understand the many benefits playing outdoors has on little minds and bodies. Kid Scholars Academy, your day care center in Sugar Land, offers the benefits of playing outside.
Vitamin D offers several health benefits. For example, it helps prevent diabetes and heart disease and it strengthens bones. In order to stave off vitamin deficiency in children, parents are strongly urged to make sure their children get a healthy dose of vitamin D.
There are vitamin D supplements that you can give your children. However, the easiest and cheapest way to ensure your children are getting enough vitamin D is by letting them play outside in the sun.
Even young children can suffer from stress.
When it comes to stress, there are several ways you can deal with it. One study showed that children who had increased exposure to outdoor spaces had lower stress levels. Going outside to play gives children time to take a break from the stresses of daily life.
Increased Attention Span
Nearly 6.5 million children in America between the ages of 4 and 17 have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Studies have shown that green outdoor settings appear to reduce the symptoms of ADHD in children.
It has become increasingly more apparent that outdoor activities are hugely effective in reducing the symptoms of attention-deficit in children.
Promote Social Skills
There has been a study that found that outdoor play has several brain-boosting benefits for children. It was found that outdoor play fosters emotional, social and cognitive competencies in children including strengthening their language and communication interactions between one another.
Yet another study found that kids who spend time playing outside are at a reduced risk of developing nearsightedness. The research found that a child’s chance of developing nearsightedness decreases by 2% for each hour they spend outside.
Boosts Academic Performance
You might be neglecting your children’s outdoor playtime because you would rather have them indoors reading or studying. But then you would be doing them an injustice. Outdoor play increases children’s’ ability to fully engage in science, arts, technology and innovation.
Spending time outside leads to higher standardized test scores, more concentration and better performance in the classroom. Physical activity outdoors is beneficial to cognition and enhances academic performance.
Many school-aged children are sleep deprived. Part of the reason for this is a sedentary lifestyle and too much screen time. Longer screen time is greatly associated with shorter nocturnal sleep duration. Studies also found that a lack of sleep can lead to obesity, depression, hyperactivity and even stunted physical growth.
But there is a simple fix.
The same study found that regular exposure to sunlight helps regulate sleep patterns and kids sleep better through the night.
Spending time outside leads to happier children and happier staff members as well. By giving children the freedom to spend more time outdoors, there will be a dramatic shift in their stress levels, self-regulation, self-esteem and overall happiness.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to let kids play in the park in our fast-paced society. But the loss of that opportunity is having negative effects on our children. So send them outside to play.
Contact Kid Scholars Academy about our preschool program today.