Well… we all know that. But it doesn’t seem to stop them from spending more time in front of a screen than we’d like them to. A good percentage of our kids are only spending 30 to 40 minutes a day outside. Instead, they are replacing valuable outdoor time with up to seven hours of screen time. Yikes! This inactive lifestyle will have a long term affect on these kid’s health and well-being.
Most parents want their kids to be more active, but busy lifestyles, long work hours and other factors seem to pull us away from it. We can’t give you the magic formula to make your kids want to be outside more, (if you figure it out though, please pass it to us), but we can give you some stats on why getting them outside will help them to grow into more balanced and healthy adults.
- Increased Self-Awareness: Kids who play outdoors develop stronger reasoning and observation skills by experiencing different scenarios from different perspectives. It shows them how to be aware of new (and familiar) environments and how they fit into those scenarios.
- Appreciation for the Environment: Studies have shown that children who spend time playing outside carry that appreciation for the outdoors into adulthood.
- Improved Peer Relationships: Kids who play outdoors are more likely to use their imagination and team-building skills.
- Improved Motor Skills: Kids who enjoy walking, running, climbing, jumping, biking build superior motor-skills, balance and coordination over those who can get to “level 500” on their favorite video game. They strengthen their bodies and become more confident in their abilities and movements.
- Lower Body Mass Index: Thirty years ago, just seven percent of kids were considered obese. Today, people seem to be eating more and moving less, which has grown that number to close to 30 percent. The longer we play outside, the more energy we burn, the healthier we become.
- Improved Overall Health: Inactive children become inactive adults. Later in life, these adults can find themselves at a higher risk for problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, asthma and a weaker immune system from lack of environmental exposure.
- Improved Muscle Strength: Swinging on a playset, climbing a tree, walking the dog, racing across the backyard all work important muscle groups that build a foundation for increased health. Plus, burning off a lot of extra energy helps promote good sleep and eating habits.
- Use of All Five Senses: Watching television requires two senses – sight and hearing. Children who play outside use all of their senses as they navigate larger spaces and encounter new smells and other sensory experiences.
- Developing Sense of Independence: Even when an adult is nearby to supervise, children who have more space to explore and play outside feel a sense of freedom when they’re at the park, in the woods or creating their own activities and games. By exploring and creating their own boundaries, they’re able to figure out their strengths and capabilities while working on problem-solving skills and pushing themselves to new limits.
ENCOURAGE YOUR KIDS TO PLAY OUTSIDE
Whether they’re very young, or can supervise themselves, encourage more outdoor time away from the games, phones and screens. They’re become healthier, stronger and happier for it.