Fresh air is healthy, or so the old adage goes. But there are plenty other benefits to outdoor play for your child and even yourself. Find out what the top 5 health benefits to playing outside are and how to incorporate them regularly in your child’s playtime routine.
1. Sunlight for vitamin D
Exposure to sunlight is a good natural source of vitamin D, which is great for bone and muscle function. Even darker days still provide more light outside than on the inside. From parks to recreational spaces, there are plenty of good spots to visit day by day — or take them to see one of these often overlooked U.S. national parks for an adventure weekend getaway.
2. Kids get more exercise outdoors
Children exercise more when they’re running around outside. Physical exercise is an important pillar of overall health and should be encouraged in children. Many kindergartens and schools are already doing their bit to get kids to play outside, but you could organize extra play dates with other parents to get everyone in the family moving. Not only will the added exercise boost your child’s immune system, but it can also be beneficial for your own health. Exercise fights inflammation, increases immunity against flus and is good for overall physical and mental fitness.
3. Children socialize when playing outside
Another benefit of playing outdoors is that kids develop social skills early on. Socializing is important for mental and physical development in young kids and social skills that are learned on the playground include sharing and communicating and even overcoming fears. For only-children, playtime is a must to develop their cooperation skills.
4. A more positive relationship with nature
A childhood that is spent outdoors means that kids learn to appreciate their natural environment early on. This means they’re more likely to develop an awareness of nature. Whether you live in the city or the countryside, encourage your kids to slide through mud and roll around in grass because coming close to nature teaches kids to respect and value other living things. It doesn’t matter if they get dirty since grass stains are easy enough to remove when you know how, so you can focus on promoting more wildlife adventures with your little ones.
Nature has a special effect on our stress levels and that’s not only true for adults. Children too can reap the benefits of the restorative effects of the outdoors. You could take your child on a walk with the dog or take a special trip into a nearby forest or park. There are many ways to enjoy all that nature has to offer you and your family.