Playing outside can benefit children in a range of ways. As little as 10 or 15 minutes can support physical and mental development.
Think about opportunities in your daily routine for them to spend time outdoors. Explore your local area. Or set up some activities, like a nature trail (this works in towns and cities as well as countryside) or a family sports day.
Here’s how it will benefit your child.
Children should aim to do 60 minutes of exercise per day. This could be running, climbing, skipping, jumping or kicking a ball at the park.Exercise helps children to stay fit and keep a healthy weight. It strengthens muscles and develops their balance and coordination.
Exercise is also good for mental health. It releases endorphins in our brains, which can boost our mood and make us feel happier.
Sunshine is the best source of Vitamin D. This is important for healthy bones and teeth as it regulates calcium levels in our bodies. It’s also important for having a strong immune system.
Studies have also shown that playing outside can develop children’s motor skills:
Playing outside can boost children’s language skills. They can build their vocabulary by naming the objects or animals they see around them. Ask your child to describe the landscape or find shapes in the clouds.
Some children may find they’re happier to talk outside. This might be because they feel less watched or overheard. With fewer people around, they can be more adventurous with their language.
Moving through new and different places can improve children’s spatial awareness. Playing outside often means children have to use their imagination and communication skills. They are likely to have fewer toys outdoors and so have to create their own games. This can increase how much children talk to each other.
Spending time in the fresh air is linked to better sleep patterns. Exercise can help to burn off extra energy. Regular bursts of exercise can make it easier for your child to settle when it’s time for bed.
Your child will be more physically tired, and this will help them get good quality rest while asleep. It can help them wake up more refreshed and ready to face the day.
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