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A recent study in the UK found that the time children spend outside today is only half of what their parents used to spend. The previous generation, the young parents of today, played outdoors a lot, and so did the generation before them. Yet now, children are often cooped up indoors, playing with smartphones or watching TV.
Despite the value of outdoor play, some parents may still find reasons to keep their children indoors. This could include using technology instead of letting their children learn about nature, as different educational TV programmes are readily available anyway. There are also books that teach children how to name animals, water bodies and land types. Toys for competitive indoor games can also be used instead of allowing them to play outside on wooden swing sets with their friends. While those can be beneficial as well, letting kids roam outdoors still have more long-lasting impacts
Some parents may cite safety as the reason they don’t allow their children to play outside. Considering how often we went home with cuts, bruises, and even broken bones back in the day, it’s understandable why new parents want to overprotect their children, but is stopping them from playing outside the right thing to do?
Why is outdoor play important?
Studies have shown the numerous positive effects of outdoor play. This involves being able to recognize environmental trends, such as seeing leaves change colour, seeing puddles move as they jump over them, and seeing flowers bloom. When children observe them on a regular basis, they acquire understanding and appreciation of nature, and soon enough, they can understand the environment and seasonal changes, and recognize the animals that live outside.
Playing outdoors promotes the physical development of children. When they are allowed to run around, jump and skip, their balance improves as does the overall stability of their bodies. Tactical and enjoyable kids playground equipment from Wickey enables children to leap about as if they were jumping over tree branches, helping them to stay active and fit. There are plenty of different configurations and options to choose from, such as small climbing frames for smaller spaces or a bigger one with swing set, sandpit and slide. Such gestures, together with being exposed to nature, inspire their creativity and their sense of adventure.
Why you should let children play outside?
Sunlight is rich in vitamin D which strengthens the immune system and helps with strong bone development. Take them out every morning and allow them to bask in the sunlight. Just make sure you don’t expose them to it for too long and use sun protection to protect them against painful and damaging sunburn.
Children need to be engaged in physical activity for at least 60 minutes every day, and the best way to exercise them is to let them play outdoors. Biking, playing ball, and running, puts all their muscles in motion, boosting their strength.
Develop new skills
Playing outside is more than just exercise and awareness about nature. It also helps kids develop new skills and unleash their intelligence. For one thing, being outdoors allows them to meet other kids, improving their interpersonal skills. Kids playing together can engage in a game where they need to strategize and solve problems, activities that would teach them essential life skills. They can also engage in role-playing games in a wooden playhouse, which enhances their imagination and creativity.
Teaches them how to manage risks safely
Every parent’s worst nightmare is to see their child being hurt, which inevitably happens in outdoor games. It’s probably the leading reason some parents stop their kids from playing outside, but even so, you shouldn’t fear. Keeping kids sheltered may hinder their self-confidence and bravery from developing.
The bruises, cuts, broken bones, and other injuries your kid may experience from playing outdoors are just a normal part of growing up, and they’ll learn lessons from this. Kids should know failure at an early age, and as long as you guide and teach them, the outdoors will never endanger your children.