Research has shown that outdoor recreation activities contribute positively to the healthy physical development and overall well-being of children. But with the high availability of electronic devices and games, it is easy for children to lose touch with the great outdoors.
Exploring their outdoor environment is extremely beneficial to a child. Outdoor activities, including hiking, sports or simply sitting in the grass, can provide numerous advantages from physical benefits to mental and emotional benefits.
Improves Physical Development
Playing outdoors enables children to enjoy the natural environment and learn how to seek out exercise, and fresh air. Children who learn to enjoy the outdoors activities have a much higher likelihood of becoming adults who like to hiking, bicycling, mountain climbing and many more. By spending time in the sunshine playing, it can help their bodies to get vitamin D to develop healthier bones and can reduce risk such as heart disease and high blood pressure.
Improves Mental & Emotional Development
Today, children have busy schedules with school and extracurricular activities. This may cause them to experience stress. Outdoor activities can help children to reduce their stress and also can improve their mood. When children are playing outside, they are most likely running, jumping, yelling and laughing. Taking a break to let kids playing outside can also increase focus of children while they are in the classroom.
Promotes Leadership Skills
In an environment where children are free to play, natural leaders will arise. One child will need to explain how to play the game, while another may enjoy setting up the physical challenge of an outdoor obstacle course. In a setting where there are not clear winners or losers, children work together to meet a goal. The way they cooperate or work together to meet a desired result helps them to increase their relationship. They may also learn how to share toys, food and much more.
Improves Cognitive Development
Playing outside can develop a child’s memory, thinking skills and ability to study. Research shows that playing outside develops children’s gross motor skills, which increases their ability to remember new information. Spending time outside prompts children to encounter new surroundings and make sense of the world around them.
Promotes Social Interaction
When children are playing outdoors with other children, they are learning about relationships and how to behave as a member of a group. Spending time outside can allow children to make new friends, resolve conflict and express their feelings. They also will learn how to follow the rules and gain self-control skills. For example, pushing each other on the swing, playing in the sand, or jumping rope can develop social interaction skills.
Promotes Environmental Awareness
Children who spend their days outside are more likely to feel a strong connection to the natural world when they are older. It is important that children learn to respect the environment. When playing outdoors, children can interact with the environment by climbing trees, lying on the grass or digging in the sand. Interacting with nature helps children find their sense of curiosity and creativity.