In a digital age where every individual owns a gadget or even two, it can be difficult to encourage children to play outdoors. Most of today’s kids would rather stay at home and play games on their tablets or smartphones.
Based on Jenny Anderson’s report on, American kids spend about 18.6 hours of play time using their gadgets. Interestingly, it was also revealed that 62% of parents want their children to have more outside play. While this is currently an inescapable reality, it’s the parents’ responsibility to regulate their children’s screen time and introduce more play time. Playing outdoors is proven to give a child a range of benefits, from physical to social, mental and emotional.
1. A fun way to exercise
Children are active by nature, and need as much physical activity as they can for their development and well-being. Unfortunately, one in five school children (ages 6 – 19) are obese, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s a percentage that has more than tripled since the 1970s. Children who have obesity or don’t get enough physical activity have an increased risk of chronic health conditions such as asthma, sleep apnea, and heart disease. Allowing children to play outdoors can contribute to the prevention of such detrimental effects. Besides, it’s a fun way for them to get some exercise.
2. Making new friends
Outdoor play with other children introduces kids to new friends, thereby promoting social development. Kids have the need to belong, whether it’s with family, friends, or school mates. Live Strong also notes that during outdoor activities, children are given opportunities to learn how to work in groups. They learn the idea of sharing, negotiating, and resolving conflicts. Additionally, having the support of friends naturally boosts a child’s self-confidence, which in turn helps with his or her emotional well-being.