Out­door play for chil­dren

ONE of the health­i­est habits you can build for your child is to en­cour­age out­door play.

New Straits Times - - KLASSIFIEDS -

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.

* EX­ER­CISE

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.

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