Blue Suit Mom

How Outdoor Play Benefits Your Children

Although there’s no doubt that sitting in a classroom and learning is good for children, studies have shown that kids also benefit tremendously from playing outdoors. The sad thing is that many young kids barely step foot outside. Just 64 percent report playing outside once a week, according to The Guardian.

But it wasn’t always like this. In the past 30 years, childhood obesity rates have more than doubled in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The numbers are staggering. In 1970, seven percent of kids ages six to 11 were obese. In 2012, 18 percent of kids in that age range were considered obese. Kids who are overweight are more at risk for cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Fortunately, getting your kids to play outdoors is an easy solution to this problem.

Kids Need Time and Places to Play

The CDC posits that one of the contributing factors to the increased rates of childhood obesity is that children aren’t able to go to parks or other public spaces where it’s safe for them to play and run around. The CDC claims that 50 percent of children in the U.S. don’t have access to public parks, sidewalks or community centers. Although more than 12 million children spend time at facilities, like day care centers, many states don’t regulate that kids get physical exercise while there.

This is tragic, considering that playing outdoors is paramount to helping kids stay healthy. It’s so important that the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights states that playing is considered to be a right of every child.

Being Outside Reduces Stress

Beyond the physical benefits, such as a decreased risk of obesity, being outside in nature benefits kids in plenty of other ways. Being outdoors is a soothing, peaceful and relaxing experience. Research shows that being outside can decrease your child’s risk of depression, reduce stress and lessen high blood pressure. It’s also thought that kids who play outside have less of a chance of developing ADHD because spending time outdoors helps kids focus and pay attention.

The bottom line is that if your kid is feeling stressed, take him or her on a walk. The fresh air and green trees might be what your child needs to beat the blues. Plus, hopefully they’ll find that they love exercising outside and will carry those healthy habits into adulthood.

Outdoor Play Helps Kids in the Classroom

Being outdoors may help your kids perform better on standardized testing, according to the Institute of Medicine. Because nature stimulates all five senses, the great outdoors may boost their developmental skills. It also may help kids solve problems and stimulate creativity. Think about it. When kids are outside, they have to learn how to take risks, explore, develop motor skills and absorb large amounts of information at once.

Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Play Outdoors

If you don’t have a park nearby or if you don’t feel comfortable letting your kids roam outside unsupervised, an easy solution is to install a swing set in your backyard. These come in different shapes and sizes to fit your backyard, and your kids will enjoy playing on it before and after school. They can hang on the monkey bars, fly on the swings, build a fort in the treehouse and slide down the slide. A quality swing set helps your children get in plenty of outdoor play that is sure to make their lives better.

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