There are many benefits for children to play outdoors, including better physical health. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), “The average American child spends more than 90 percent of their time indoors.” The article also stated that, “Doctors recommend that kids under five should spend at least three hours outside every day. Kids 5 to 18 should spend an hour outside every day.”
It helps children’s physical health, as well as decreases the possibility of depression and anxiety. For example, kids who play outdoors are less likely to gain weight or become obese. Playing outside gives a child the opportunity to explore the world around them and learn where they fit into the larger scheme of things.
Better Physical Health
How does this help with their physical health? A child is more likely to exercise and stay active when they are outdoors. The article stated that “A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that children who spent two hours or less playing outside per day had lower body mass index (BMI) scores than kids who played outside more.”
Not only will children stay active, but they are also less likely to be sedentary. Camping is a great example of this because it is an outdoor activity that can last for days. Kids love camping because it gets them out in the wilderness, where there are many places to explore and encourages physical activity. Without access to video games, cable TV, or the internet, children must play with friends and family to stay entertained.
If a child does not want to go outside because they are afraid of bugs or other insects on the ground, parents need to practice “exposure therapy.” This will help their child become less scared of bugs.
Parents can practice exposure therapy by encouraging their children to play outside as often as they want, and not forcing them. When parents force a child to go outside when they do not feel like going, then it is more likely that the child will develop symptoms related to anxiety and depression. The more time children spend outside, the less likely these symptoms will develop.
Encouraging Play Even In Urban Settings
Parents should also encourage their children to play outside, even if they live in an urban setting or a busy suburb where there are not many outdoor amenities. For example, parents could help their children plant herbs, vegetables, and flowers in pots on top of balconies or terraces. Parents could also take their child to the park, even if it is crowded and there are lots of kids playing or people running around with their dogs.
It is important for parents to understand that outdoor space can be anywhere where a child can see grass, trees, and the sky.
Helping Your Kids Lead Healthier and Happier Lives
Imagine having fun and plentiful summers outdoors with friends and family, playing skip ball in the pool, or playing tag with your kids, all the while knowing that they create memories with your children and create healthier lifestyles. It is important for parents and guardians to encourage their children to go outside, even if it means exposure therapy may be necessary. If you’re having trouble finding the perfect activity for your child, check out this list of gifts for kids who love the outdoors. By spending as much time as possible outside, kids will lead healthier and happier lives.