Every morning, I send my children outside to play for about an hour. We take a break from our homeschool and they go and enjoy the fresh air. It’s a welcome break and it’s so important to my kids’ well-being. Not only are there physical health benefits, but there are mental health and educational benefits as well.
Getting outside is important for everyone, but especially for children. Here’s why:
1. Health benefits
Getting outside has tons of health benefits. When children go outside, they naturally get more physical exercise. They run, jump, yell and play big games. There’s nothing that makes me smile more than hearing my girls giggling as they chase each other in the backyard.
Getting outside means they get exposed to fresh air. When you stay inside a long time, the air you breathe can be stale and germ-filled. Studies show that cool, fresh air has immune boosting properties. So it’s important that our kids spend more time outside!
And getting outside helps kids get Vitamin D. Vitamin D is something that your body makes when you are exposed to ultraviolet light. Vitamin D is also important for bone and muscle health, as well as brain development and mood support. So you need a certain amount of sunlight in order to stay healthy.
Getting outside is one of the best things you can do to refresh and recharge. Doctors have long known that mental health issues can be improved with regular exposure to nature. So going outside regularly is essential to good mental health.
When you get outside, it’s like the wind blows away the cobwebs in your mind. Your mood improves. Your thinking clears. And you can be more creative.
Many religions practice meditation outside or surrounded by plants. White noise tracks often include the sounds of nature, such as waterfalls, rainstorms or birdsong. The natural connection is refreshing in a way that little else is.
3. Solving Problems and Discoveries
Getting outside can help develop solutions to difficult problems. Many of our innovations in technology are based on discoveries in nature. So going outside regularly, exploring and connecting with the natural world, gives greater opportunities for making those discoveries.
What better way to educate children than with frequent, repeated exposure to nature? Time spent outside is one the best ways for kids to learn.
They learn about their own bodies, and how to take risks. They learn about the world around them, seeing the patterns in nature, and making the connections about life. And they can imitate nature in their own building and exploration.
My kids love to get outside and make discoveries. Sometimes it’s as simple as chasing butterflies or leaves in the wind. Sometimes they’ll take out magnifying glasses and see what there is to see. And sometimes they’ll turn the natural environment into their playground, using sticks, stones, leaves and dirt as toys.
It’s important to get outside often.
The benefits of getting outside are many. From physical and mental health to learning and growing, children need to get outside frequently.
So the next time you have cranky kids, send them outside to play. It will do them a world of good.
For more parenting tips: Keys to Parenting: Consistency Keeps your Kids Happy
Do you get outside often with your kids?