Why I Encourage My Child to Play Outside
Playing outside is the perfect opportunity for kids to be kids. Not to mention, it’s good for their health too. It's the place for them to run around, hop, skip, jump, and do all sorts of activity that gets their bodies moving.
According to author and clinical psychologist, Kay Redfield Jamison, playing itself is important and that it is not a luxury, rather a necessity. Through outdoor fun-n-games, kids kinesthetically learn about the world.
Here are 5 reasons I encourage my child to play outside:
- It's a multi-sensory activity
Being outside enables kids to see, hear, smell, and touch things they wouldn't normally find inside the house. They experience the world quite differently compared to indoor activities, as they get to touch trees, watch insects hop, and smell the breeze of fresh air—all of which are great stimuli to develop their senses.
- They get creative
One day, I was watching my 5-year old nephew and his friend. Their preschool teacher had just handed them their school IDs. We, as adults, would quickly wear it around our necks and off we go. However, the kids had something else in mind and decided that it was a mobile phone.
Pressing on the flat ID case, they pretended to dial one another and talk like they were old pals who haven't seen each other for years.
A child's imagination is limitless, and playing outside can help them expand and develop their creativity. It's the perfect opportunity for them to turn ordinary surroundings into an extraordinary experience.
- It drains their energy
Parents today may have turned to tablets or smartphones to get their children to calm down. But, unfortunately, sitting down while watching shows doesn't require a lot of energy.
Running around, riding a bike, or even just playing jump rope outside can help channel their energy appropriately. This can help them to focus better too.
- It has long-term benefits
The brain is just like any muscle, as it needs exercise. Research shows that exercising can promote the growth of certain neurons by releasing a protein called FNDC that triggers another protein in our brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF) to be released.
BNDF is responsible for nourishing new synapses and preserving existing connections. This plays a critical role in our ability to learn and remember things.
So, if you want to raise smart and sharp kids, get them to move around. You don't need to sign them up for a gym membership. Just running around or biking will do the trick.
- They learn from other living things
Do you know how Velcro was invented? It was all thanks to a flowering plant called Xanthium or cockleburs. Inventor, George de Mestral, was hunting in the Jura Mountains when he noticed the plants sticking to his pants and his dog's fur. Their adhesive-like properties inspired him to create Velcro.
Playing outside can help kids learn all kinds of things. They observe how a bird flaps its wings in-flight or a squirrel climb a tree. They learn to develop a strong sense of empathy by interacting with other creatures.
Kids need the right avenue to develop vital life skills. Playing outside doesn't just work them out, but it also helps them practice gross motor skills. Your kids will love playing outdoors when they see you enjoy outdoor activities too.
Active parents tend to raise active kids. The best part is, they'll have a lot of memories with you to cherish.
If you need more reasons to let your child play outside, then check out this infographic.
Ericson Roberts is a staff writer for FeelGoodContacts. He enjoys taking his sons out for a game of catch, and transform ordinary parenting techniques into a fun-filled learning experience. They say a way to a man's heart is through his stomach, while for Ericson, the way to a child's heart is having fun.