Why kids need to get outside and play

Updated: Jun 23

Our kids are glued to screens now-a-days. They don't want to do anything other than sit there and stare at their phone, tablet, monitor, or TV. One of our jobs, as parents, is to make sure they are getting a healthy dose of outside time, play time, and lots of interaction with other people and the world around them without a screen anywhere near them. Adults that have spent their lives on screens are having a difficult time interacting with other adults, keeping jobs, whether they enjoy them or not, and have gotten lazy and, in turn, gained weight and lost energy, and have no clue where to even start to feel better. I know because I'm one of them. Because of this, I've come up with some tips on how to create a little adventurer, no matter the age, so they will have a more successful life full of energy and activity.

At first it may be difficult to pull them away for a few hours if they're used to having screens on ALL THE TIME, but once they get out there and explore, 90% of the time they'll enjoy themselves, even if they tell you they hated it and never want to do it again, because mine have. They're laughing little faces while they're in the moment tell a completely different story, though. Those moments when we notice they're running around with other kids, climbing playground equipment, scooping up dirt with their hands, or pushing each other on the swings, with that smile plastered onto their faces, that laugh echoing through the air, makes your push and fight with them to get out of the house that much sweeter.

"Why do I want to take them out when they're so content on their screens?" some of you may ask. Well here are a few benefits of getting them outside and playing.

1. Give them the chance to improve their motor skills.

When kids play outside, they move in ways that challenge their muscles, bones and physical endurance, which, in turn, helps with their coordination, balance and agility. They have the space to run, walk, jump, swing, and throw. They can race, play catch, kick a ball around, crawl under bushes, climb trees, and ride bikes.

2. Lower Body Mass Index and more energy

Did you know one in three kids fall under the "obesity" classification? That number has increased significantly in just 30 years. Get your kids outside and moving. They'll thank you in the long run, maybe even while they're out! Plus, the more active they are, the more they'll want to be. Encourage that energy now before they get into adulthood!

3. Appreciation for the Environment

Children can learn to appreciate the environment just by watching and interacting with it. By watching ants taking food to their homes, spiders spinning webs up and down trees, and squirrels leaping from one branch to another, they learn all about the living things all around them and what they do to take care of themselves and their families. When they get the chance to smoosh soil in their hands and play with it while they plant flowers, they get to feel what the Earth created, something not man-made. Then, by revisiting those flowers as they bloom and blossom, they can appreciate nature growing and thriving, with or without human assistance.

As they grow, their fond memories of their childhood experiences lead them to more awareness and compassion. They feel motivated to preserve the spaces they loved as children because they’ve experienced the value.

4. They'll develop a sense of independence

Being outside gives kids the freedom they need to thrive and grow and learn what they are capable of, and even improve on. It gives them the creativity to come up with their own games with friends using the things around them that they wouldn't be able to do inside the house. They can explore and push themselves in ways they didn't even know was possible. Their confidence in themselves grow when they make it across those monkey bars for the first time, or are able to fly forward and backward without being pushed on the swing.

5. Improve their social skills

Playgrounds, parks, and even beaches or pools offer children the opportunities to meet other kids they would have otherwise not have met. They will have the ability to build friendships and will be developing the skills they need to communicate effectively to other people, which will be very useful while they grow. Learning from other kids that are different than them or have different skill sets would also be an added benefit of getting them out and playing. My ten year old just learned a new kick with a soccer ball from a kid he met at the pool last weekend.

What can yours learn from others, or just from nature herself?


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