Recently I've noticed how the free time choices of my children are total opposite of what I did when I was a kid. Back in the day, we would play outside for hours only going home to eat and sleep and then we'd be back outside dreaming up games and going on adventures. Now it is like torture for the kids to drag themselves outside, and after minutes they have nothing to do. Where did all the imagination go?
I blame it on my parenting and technology. I shouldn't have to force my kids to go outside and have fun; they should already be outside. There are many benefits to putting down the technology and encouraging outdoor play on a regular basis. Here are the five top benefits I've noticed since I took a stand and encouraged outdoor play.
1 – Vision Is Enhanced
Even in the largest home, vision is stymied by distance. Your child doesn't need to process visual information for very long distances. Outdoors, the human eye takes in everything within its range of vision.
Proof of the benefit of enhanced vision for children playing outdoors was reported by Optometry and Vision Science. They have released a study which shows that children who spend more time outside have better distance vision than those who play most of the time indoors.
2 – Mental Health Skyrockets
There is plenty of recent research which shows the importance of interaction with nature for mental health and well-being. Just 10 to 15 minutes in an environment with natural green colors like plants, grass and trees have been linked to improved memory and concentration. Playing outdoors in a natural, green colored environment also reduces the development and symptoms of neurological disorders.
Playing outdoors in a natural, green colored environment also reduces the development and symptoms of neurological disorders.
3 – Attention Span Increases
Scientific research once again shows the importance of getting your kids to play outside. Time spent in outdoor settings in some magical way increases the attention span of children, and adults as well.
4 – Contributes to Healthy Levels of Vitamin D
Giving our kids wholesome and nutritious food doesn't always mean it is full of the vitamins and nutrients they need. Just 10 to 20 minutes of exposure to the sun on your skin creates the manufacture of vitamin D in the human body. That is enough time to meet your child's daily requirement of vitamin D.
5 – Social Skills Are Improved
Strong social skills lead to success in so many ways. Your child can develop new relationships and learn to communicate effectively. Multiple studies show that when you can socialize, you make more money in your lifetime than someone who possesses poor social skills. Playing outdoors and meeting the neighborhood children brings a whole new dynamic into their world.
Long story short, get outside and enjoy your surroundings. Encouraging youth to use their imaginations, communications skills and take in some vitamin D will only benefit them in the future.
Do your kids love playing outside?