The Benefits of Being Outdoors - June 2021

Most parents would agree they want their kids to be physically healthy, in addition to being well-rounded, independent and compassionate individuals. What if we told you the best way to instill these qualities in your kids was to encourage them to spend more time outside?  That’s right! By encouraging kids to spend more time outside, you’re not only aiding your child’s physical well-being, but you’re helping them improve their emotional and intellectual well-being, too. Whether it’s a trip to the nature-inspired park or taking a hike through the woods with their family, there’s no denying the benefits of stepping outside and into the sunshine.  

How does outdoor play help physical development? When compared with their peers, kids who spend more time outdoors typically improve their motor skills, body mass index, overall health and muscle strength. Spending active time outdoors as a kid is also important for life-long health. Children that are active in their early years generally continue to be more active as they age. Encouraging outdoor play in young children helps develop a healthy attitude about maintaining an active adult lifestyle.

While there are many physical benefits to outdoor play, it provides a huge opportunity for social development in children as well. Some of the most notable benefits include: increased openness with parents and caregivers, greater self-awareness, appreciation for the environment, and improved peer-to-peer relationships.  In addition to the physical and social benefits of outdoor play, children who play outside regularly also tend to be stronger emotionally and more able to process things as they grow. They get to use all of their 5 senses and develop a sense of independence.2 boys and 2 girls playing kickball on a green lawn

Many parents think the best way to develop their child’s intellectual abilities is to spend more time learning in an organized classroom environment. But did you know encouraging your child to spend time outside is also a great way to develop their intellectual abilities? In fact, outdoor play has the following key benefits: aid with brain development, improve communication skills, and the outdoors in an expanded learning space. 

While outdoor play will look different as children grow and change, it’s important for parents to remember ALL outdoor activity is beneficial to children. It’s no secret kids play differently at different stages of their lives. You can’t expect a 2-year-old to play the same way as a 6- or 8-year-old. But, even though they’ll show different interests depending on their developmental stage, children of all ages can benefit from outdoor play. That’s true not only during their younger years, but as they continue to grow and become adults. Whether your child is 2 or 12, it’s important to encourage them to spend time outdoors and to enjoy the outdoors. Exploring parks and playgrounds can be just the way to help your kids enjoy being outside, whether they’re playing alone or with their friends.