Why Children Need to Play Outside – Even in the Winter Months
When the weather is nice and the sun is shining, most parents have absolutely no problems sending their children outside to play. Why? Because we all know that playing outside is good for our kids, but for a lot of us, playing outside means that we can actually get a few things done inside without being distracted. Perhaps, this is why so many people dread the winter months.
The weather changes from warm and sunny to cold and “dreary,” which means that the kids can’t go outside and play, right? Wrong! It is still necessary for children to go outside and play - even in the winter months. There are a lot of other “real” benefits for your children when they play outside.
Builds Immune Systems
It’s no surprise that many children that are raised on, or around, a farm are generally healthier than those that aren’t. This is because on a regular basis these children are exposed to dirt, animals, pests, bacteria, and everything else that send modern day parents running. While we like to think that dirt, animals, pests, and bacteria do more harm than good it’s actually the opposite. When your children come into contact with these things in a natural way (outside) and on a regular basis, they are less likely to develop autoimmune disorders and allergies.
Playing outside provides children with something many children don’t get enough of anymore – exercise. Exercising while having fun is the best kind of exercise, and that’s exactly what playing outside does. Riding bikes, playing tag with friends, building a snowman, sledding, having snowball fights and other outside activities get our children’s bodies moving… something most video games can’t do.
A study reported to Optometry and Vision Science found that children who spend time outside have better distance vision than those who primarily play indoors.
Stimulates the Imagination
Sadly, one of the things that today’s children are lacking is an imagination. This is because we’re in the technological age – today children are literally shown everything. Why go outside and play cops and robbers when we can watch a movie about it or play a video game? Playing outside helps children develop their imagination, which is something that television, video games, computers, iPods, etc. don’t do.
Provides Vitamin D
It’s important that your children get Vitamin D, which is provided by the sun. Vitamin D helps promote better moods, energy levels, memory, overall health, and more. Just 10-15 minutes out in the sun will give your children their daily dose of Vitamin D.
Spending time outside playing is a huge outlet for stress. It’s relaxing; it is healing. There is even research showing that seeing green spaces can help decrease kids’ stress levels.
Promotes Problem Solving and Social Skills
Children who play outside learn how to solve real life problems better than children who are always in their rooms playing video games or secluding themselves. Regardless of it they’re learning how to get along with friends or trying to figure out the best way to build a fort – they’re problem solving.
For safe outside play in the winter months, children must have the appropriate clothing attire. Listed below are the items children must have at Generation Next to play outside.
- Warm coat
- Snow pants
- Snow boots
Please be sure to label your child’s attire with his or her first and last name or initials.
It doesn’t matter if it is summer or winter, playing outside is a great way to get all of the benefits at once. Obviously, if it’s blizzard like conditions outside, your children should stay inside, but if it’s nice outside then bundle the kids up and let them play for half an hour or so.