A study published by Science Direct in 2017 revealed that it is becoming increasingly important to recognise the benefits of outdoor play for children, especially at a time when children are leading a more sedentary lifestyle from a very young age, focused more on a screen and disconnected from nature. The study goes on to emphasise the importance of outdoor play for physical and social development in children, as well as health.
In the words of Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, “When you’re outside and your parents are inside, out of sight, you’re in situations where you’re making your own decisions and taking chances—can I jump over that log or climb that tree? Or can we really dig a pit that can hide us from our friends/enemies in the game we’re playing? These kind of achievements—real achievements, not virtual achievements of killing monsters or stealing cars, building levels or whatever video game realities that people get wrapped up with now—were extremely defining for me and my sense of confidence and independence as a person.”
Reasons Why Children Should Play Outdoors
- Boosts Physical Development: Being physically active, which comes very easily with outdoor play, is a great way to not only strengthen a child’s bones and muscles but to also build immunity and decrease the risk of lifestyle disorders like diabetes, obesity and even heart disease. In addition, the sunshine and fresh air help provide Vitamin D for stronger bones and teeth. There are numerous other health benefits of playing outdoors, all of which add to the child’s sense of well-being, while making them calmer and happier. In addition, both gross and fine motor skill development receives a boost. Coordination of the limbs, hand-eye coordination, balance, agility and more develop.
- Improves Attention Span & Learning: Playing outdoors is a fun and effective way to learn new skills and acquire information. It teaches crucial life skills, such as problem solving, teamwork, a basic understanding of science and more. In fact, studies have revealed that while higher screen-time decreases one’s attention span, outdoor play can actually even diminish the symptoms of ADHD.
- Fosters Creativity: Being out in the open, amidst nature, stimulates a child’s imagination, leading them to think of inventive ways to have fun. They use the playground equipment and their surroundings in creative ways to play with each other.
- Enhances Social Skills: Playing with one’s peers outdoors is a great way to boost social development in children. They learn to interact and communicate effectively with others, while also learning to share and be part of a team. It also helps with personality development, encouraging children to overcome they shyness and play with others. They learn to become independent and make decisions for themselves.
There are many other benefits offered by outdoor play. However, to make the most of such physical activity, your child requires the right nutrition. You can conveniently ensure that your little one receives all the essential nutrients everyday with the addition of a fortified milk powder, like Enfagrow A+, in their daily diet. Available in two delicious flavours, this fortified milk powder is rich in the essential nutrients, including DHA, which boosts brain development.