5 Reasons Why Your Little Digital Natives Need Outdoor Play Now More Than Ever
A smartphone, tablet, or laptop can give your kids endless hours of entertainment. These devices can be valuable learning tools as well. Because of these reasons, it can be hard to pry your little ones away from these devices and encourage them to do something else.
But even if your kids can keep themselves occupied for hours on their gadgets, you need to find a way to get them to put these devices down and spend some time outdoors even if it means investing in kids’ outdoor play equipment and complementary landscaping services.
Here are the reasons why:
1. They will become healthier and more physically fit
The outdoors are the perfect place for kids to run, jump, throw balls, lift and carry objects, swing on monkey bars, etc. These are all activities that help kids develop and refine their motor skills.
In addition, outdoor play will allow your children to get the exercise they need to strengthen their bones and muscles. It will also burn calories which will help prevent ailments sedentary children are likely to suffer from such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Encouraging your young digital natives to play outside is also a great way for them to get vitamin D – a nutrient that helps boost mineral density in bones and teeth. The sun is the best natural source of vitamin D, and your kids will get this whenever they spend time outdoors.
If you want your kids to grow up healthy, encourage them to play outside more often.
2. They will have better sensory skills
Various studies show that kids who spend a lot of time on glued to their devices are more likely to develop eye-related problems.
On the other hand, a study showed that kids who spend an additional hour of outdoor time per week reduce their risk of developing myopia (or nearsightedness) by about 14 percent.
Younger kids will also have more chances of developing their other senses when they spend time outdoors as well. When they are in a park, allow them to touch and smell flowers that catch their eye. With this simple activity, they get to learn new things by using their different senses.
To help lower the risk of your kids developing vision problems and help them develop their other sensory skills, reduce their screen time and increase the time they spend outdoors.
3. They will improve their social skills
When kids are at a playground or park, they will have more opportunities to meet other children. And since outdoor spaces are usually less crowded than indoors, children will find the setting less intimidating and, as a result, will be more inclined to come out of their shells and be more sociable.
This means that they will be more willing to join games and activities, talk to and play with other children, and make new friends. As they engage in these activities, your kids will learn how to cooperate, take turns, forge friendships and share – values that they need to know about even at an early age.
4. They will have ample opportunities to develop their executive function and self-regulation skills
Executive function and self-regulation skills are skills that allow an individual to plan, organize, prioritize, troubleshoot, and multitask.
Problem-solving and creativity are also included here since these skills are essential for an individual to be adept at executive function and self-regulation.
You will enable your children to develop these crucial life skills whenever you allow them to engage in unstructured playtime. When kids get to use their imagination to make up their own games and think creatively to solve problems, they are actually building their executive function and self-regulation skills.
5. They will experience better moods
Lastly, kids will also experience stress from time to time. You will help your kids forget their worries and relax when you expose them to natural green outdoor spaces. This will also help them have a more positive mental attitude.
In addition, natural outdoor light stimulates the pineal gland – the part of the brain responsible for making a person feel happy. As such, when you encourage your kids to spend time outdoors, you help improve their mood and happiness.
With all these benefits in mind, schedule more outdoor time for your kids and start reducing their screen time. Turn these outdoor activities into family bonding opportunities as well by joining them as they play outside.
Michael Davies is the Senior Account Manager at Sandleford, a trusted supplier of letterboxes and home security products and solutions in Australia. The company’s Swing Slide Climb range has grown and grown over the past 4 years, and together with Bunnings Australia, it has become one of the most exciting and innovative suppliers and developers of children’s play equipment in the Australian market.