Take a look at the children of today and the activities they most commonly engage in and you’ll find gaming systems, cell phones, tablets, and laptops at the forefront of nearly every child’s ammunition for engaging in their leisure time. Children of today are growing up with technology right at their finger tips. Ask any parent and they’re sure to agree their kids usually know more about technology than they do! Technology is a fascinating innovation in the way our world operates and is incredibly important to utilize and understand, after all, you couldn’t be reading this right now without it! What happens when we don’t structure our kids time spent with technology though? What happens when all of our time is spent indoors looking at a screen? Our kid’s today spend their time in drastically different ways than we spent ours at their age.
We’ve lost site of the incredible benefits we gain spending time outdoors. It’s important our children learn to use technology, but it’s equally important, if not more beneficial to their growth and development to #optoutside. Take a look at just a few of the benefits gained from spending time outdoors.
- Physical Fitness Benefits
Throughout life we develop habits based on the activities we most frequently engage in. If we spend our afternoons as kids watching cartoons and playing computer games, we are likely to continue that habit. Likewise, if we take time to get outside and play as kids, we are likely to remain active into our adult lives. Children who engage in regular outdoor activities are more likely to maintain a healthy weight and continue their physical activity level as they grow older.
- Social Development Benefits
Spending time at parks and playgrounds provide spaces for kids to learn and grow together. As they interact, they build social skills both by playing and by observing their peers. This allows our children to strengthen their language skills, learn to overcome challenges, and build healthy relationships.
- Mental Health Benefits
Life is becoming more busy each day. It’s not just adults that experience this! When’s the last time you took a look at the homework your kids are bringing home? Each year kids are being given larger and more complex work loads. As the world continues to grow and expand, our children are tasked with learning all of this new information along with the information we were taught at their age. Kids are busier than ever before, and along with that busy schedule, we are seeing all time highs in cases of anxiety, stress, and depression. Spending time outdoors allows our children to expend energy and alleviate stress. This in turn, helps them to concentrate better and have better overall mental health.
- Intellectual Health Benefits
Playing outside stimulates us intellectually and is proven to have a positive impact on our readiness to take in new information and excel our performance. Spending time outdoors can help children learn better in the classroom by stimulating their creativity, allowing them to view learning materials in a variety of ways. It also increases our ability to focus, which helps us more easily absorb information and process new concepts.
- Appreciation for the Outdoors
Take a look at the news or hop online and it doesn’t take long to notice the impact we have on our planet. As population continues to grow and we consume more and more resources each year it’s becoming ever more apparent that we must take steps to protect the world around us. Spending time in the outdoors as a kid sets our children up to have a lifelong love of nature and an appreciation for conservation. Studies show that children who spend time in the outdoors are more likely to engage in pro-environmental behaviors like recycling and water conservation!