Outdoor play for children
ONE of the healthiest habits you can build for your child is to encourage outdoor play.
When children go outside or to a playground to play, they are doing more than just burning off energy.
Play helps children develop confidence and social skills, maintain physical fitness and appreciate nature.
The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights has recognised play as a right for every child in the world so that he or she can maximise intellectual, physical, social and emotional development.
Outdoor play promotes healthy bodies. Getting your children to play outdoor is a perfect way to get them fit and lean. Playing outside will not only prevent obesity, but also help the children build stronger bones and muscles, improve their cardiovascular health, help them sleep better at night, and reduce their risk of diseases.
* VITAMIN D
Children often lack sufficient vitamin D and getting them to play outdoors is a good way to get adequate vitamin D, which is found naturally in sunlight. Vitamin D is necessary for the body to properly use and absorb calcium, improve the immune system and reduce inflammation. Children who don’t spend enough time outdoors are at risk of vitamin D deficiency, which can cause health problems.
* SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Play is the ultimate social mechanism. In various forms, it is a reflection of all forms of social interactions. It is also a healthy way to ensure that kids get a good grounding in interaction with other children. A good outdoor game can achieve much more in terms of social development, making friends and reducing shyness.
* PSYCHOLOGICAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The benefits of children playing outside are not only physical but also psychological. Playing outside teaches a child about nature and the environment — how to play, share, and get along with other children; how to be adventurous; how to use reason and logic, how to be resourceful, and use their imagination.
Playing outside enables children to relax, reduce tension and help them solve problems.
* OUTDOORS: A GREAT TEACHER
When playing outdoors, a child is exposed to different textures, sounds and smells, which they would not otherwise experience indoors. They are often allowed more freedom to explore and discover things for themselves, building their independence and confidence.
Unfortunately today’s generation of kids spend more time in front of electronic media despite the many benefits of playing outdoors. Children who spend a lot of time indoors — playing computer and video games — are not as active as they should be.
There are many ways to get your kids involved outdoors. There are many stores that sell games and toys suitable for outdoor use such as bicycle, skates, kites, etc.
You can even create an outdoor space that is exciting for your children to play in. Or you can kick or throw a ball around in the backyard together, go for rides, fishing, or take your children to the playground. Make outdoor family time a part of your family routine.