Big Benefits of Outside Play

We are in the middle of a big melt outside! Plus, to add to this, I happened to notice our neighbor’s big melt flowing directly into our yard today in streams before stopping and pooling up in the middle of our back yard. (Yeah, this may be a bigger problem than I wish to focus on at this moment!) On the bright side, my kids are loving it! They put on their rain pants, jackets and rubber boots after school today and played in the great outdoors.

Child "Hunting Crocodiles" in Backyard

As a kid, I have awesome memories of doing the same! We do see a few out playing, but the streets are fairly quiet even though the temperature is bearable. I sometimes question: Are kids in general playing outside less than just a few years ago?

I’ve heard people say, “It’s too hot to be outside!” or “It’s too cold to be outside!” There always seems to be an excuse to stay indoors if we look for one.

This all leads me to ponder: What are the benefits of getting outside and breathing in that fresh air? Are we better off staying inside or getting outside on a regular basis?

I strongly believe it is beneficial for both adults and children to get outside daily, at least for a half hour but preferably longer, regardless of the temperature. For the purposes of this article, I will focus on our kids.

Top Benefits of Getting Outside Regularly for Our Kids

Here is my list of the top benefits I’ve seen in my own kids when they get outside to play:

Creativity 

Being outside stimulates a child’s natural imagination. Kids always seem to be able to find something to play, do or enjoy once out in the open air. Thus, the crocodile hunting and fishing that is happening in the pictures on this article!

Child "Fishing" in Backyard

Problem Solving

I don’t know why it is my kids never seem to independently spot the mess that is inside our home and try to problem solve how it will get cleaned up, yet seem to always spot a problem that needs to be solved outside. This is just the way it is. Something may be broken, water may need to be removed from our yard, or anything else and my kids are creating a way to fix it. Whether it is how to build a snowman or snow fort in the winter months to how to move your legs to get the most height while swinging, problem solving becomes abundant when our kids are outside.

Social Skills

When outside in a public space, our kids seem to socialize more with others. Think of an outdoor play center in which our kids suddenly find themselves playing a game of Grounders or something like that. They also learn the importance of taking turns and may learn some new games.

Stronger Immune System

It actually benefits our kids to get full of germy dirt sometimes. It builds the immune system plus getting outside gives our kids some natural vitamin D exposure, which has so many benefits in and of itself!

Increased Exercise

Yes, our kids may run around the house a bit, but they always seem to run around a lot more once outside in the great outdoors!

Improved Gross and Fine Motor Skills as well as Improved Spatial Awareness

Movement, movement and more movement. Our kids stop to grab at something or pick something up. They march. They run. They use sticks as musical instruments or canes. This all helps to build upon important skills for our kids.

Increased Readiness for Learning

Our kids are more prepared for learning after spending some time outside. This is why it is imperative to have outdoor recess built into the school day and honored anytime the weather permits, even if this means they need to be bundled up to do so or that they have to be lathered up in sunscreen.

Acceptance of Others

When out at a park or on the playground, there is often other children around. Some of those children will have ideas varying from what my kids have. Some will look different or have different abilities. Our kids learn to play together and work together with others regardless of ability, skin color, or beliefs . They simply see other children as other children… which is a beautiful thing!

One Last Important Benefit of Our Kids Going Outside to Play 

Us parents might be able to get some downtime when our kids are playing outside, especially when they are just in the backyard… some downtime in which the house isn’t being messed up! After all, it isn’t always just about the kids, right?!? 😉 

What are some of your favorite reasons for getting the kids outside? Please comment below or send me an email at contact@sherrymlee.com.

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