“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” ~ Fred Rogers
Does your child spend at least one hour a day playing outdoors? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should play outside for at least 60 minutes a day. While raising children, parents should provide them with opportunities to be physical and enjoy the benefits of outdoor play. Physical activity and outdoor play are so important to a child’s health and development. Here are 6 Benefits of Outdoor Play:
∼ Develops Gross Motor Skills: While playing outside children can strengthen the large muscles in their bodies and develop their gross motor skills including running, jumping, and climbing.
∼ Improves Physical Health: The American Heart Association states that physical activity can control a child’s weight, reduce blood pressure, raise HDL or the good kind of cholesterol, and even reduce the risk of diabetes and some kinds of cancers.
∼ Provides Learning Opportunities: While playing outside, children can learn important concepts such as problem solving, cause and effect relationships, and spatial relationships including in, on, under, and over. They can also learn about things in math and science like angels and inclined planes.
∼ Builds Social Skills: On the playground, children can learn how to interact with others, take turns, and build friendships. Playing outdoor games or sports also teaches children to work together and communicate with others.
∼ Improves Vision: According to Optometry and Vision Science, children who spend time playing outdoors have better distance vision than those children who spend most of their time playing indoors.
∼ Builds self-confidence: As children learn new things and overcome fears on the playground, they become more confident in themselves.
It is important for parents to provide children with a variety of physical activities everyday so they can experience all of the benefits of outdoor play.