Skip to main content

5 ways playing outside benefits kids

There is nothing quite like hearing the sounds of your kids giggling and laughing while they are playing outdoors. There is just something about being outside that just makes everything more fun. However, these days, many kids are hooked on screens and computers. While that is okay in moderation, it’s something that parents should keep in check. That’s why it’s so important to encourage kids to play outside. Besides getting them up and moving, there are five benefits of kids playing outside that you’ll be pleased to hear about.

Why playing outside benefits kids

It enhances their development

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are cognitive, social, and stress management skills to be learned and acquired by playing outdoors, and it emphasizes the important power of play in a child’s life. Co-director at the University of Maryland’s Center for School Mental Health, Sharon Hoover says, “Play can promote positive feelings like joy and excitement, which can bolster mood and diminish anxiety and sadness.” The kids can be outside soaking up the beautiful sun rays and they can let their cares be free. Even though it only may be temporary, outside is an incredible place that you should encourage your children to explore.

Silly Kids
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s physically good for them

Not only do we know that exercise is good for children, but there are other physical benefits that your children will get when they head out the back door to go play with their friends. When they are playing outside, they can reap the beautiful benefits of vitamin D, which they’ll get from being out in the sun. Not to mention when kids play outside more than they do inside, they are more tired out by day’s end, so naturally, it helps them sleep better and longer. Finally, it can increase their attention span. Danae Lund PhD, LP of Sanford Health, who works with child and adolescent behavioral health said, “Children who play outdoors regularly are more curious, self-directed, and likely to stay with a task longer. Children who spend most of their time indoors with little exposure to activities requiring their own initiation and follow-through show less ability to initiate or participate in new activities.”

It provides social skills

Children who play outside more often tend to begin to build their self-awareness about others around them. This is how they form their first peer-to-peer relationships. Little ones who play outside begin to have positive interactions with other children, and that is how their friends are made. A great way to see this flourish is to watch them play a game that allows them to pretend together. When the children are outside, they will love the openness of it all, and lifelong friendships could be made.

It teaches them to appreciate nature

There was a study done by the University of British Columbia, which found that children not only begin to have a respect and love for nature when they are young, but most of them carry that love of nature right into their adult years. Eighty-seven percent of participants of the study had said that they carried around their love for nature into their adult lives. Eighty-four percent of them said that they still believed that nature was an important priority to them. That alone shows that being outdoors is good for both children and adults.

Little Girls Laughing
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Kids can be kids

When children are outside, they are allowed to do the things that they typically cannot do inside. Things like running, jumping up and down, yelling, and more can be done outside. Because they can do these things that they can’t do in the house, they are excited to test their own independence and see what they can do at the park or the playground. Kids are able to have fun and be able to do everything that they have wanted to do, but had to wait until they were outside.

The evidence is undeniable. There are so many benefits to children playing outside. It is amazing what mother nature can do. You can model great behavior for your children as well by taking them outdoors to play instead of staying cooped up in the house. To take things one step further you could even institute an annual family camping trip where everyone sleeps under the stars. There are so many wonderful activities that can create wonderful outdoor memories for you and your entire family. Find your reason to go outside and have fun.

Editors' Recommendations

Jennifer Passmore
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Jennifer has written two books on how to deal with living with chronic illness using the power of positivity. She has written…
The Floor is Lava! game: Fun for the whole family to play
Get the whole family playing this game
Mom and daughter playing musical game

Games that are easy to play and understood by the whole family can often be hard to come by, which is why The Floor is Lava! game is such a fun activity for all ages. So many games marketed as "family-friendly" are anything but, and often require a lot of effort by parents to get everyone engaged. This isn't the case when it comes to The Floor is Lava!, which is probably why it's so fun.

If you've never played The Floor is Lava! before, the concept is very easy and very fun. You can play it just about anywhere with any number of participants, and is suitable for almost all age groups. Here are some fun ways to play this game that has become so popular that Netflix even created a series based on it.

Read more
5 New Year’s resolution ideas for kids that promote healthy habits
Get healthy with these resolutions as a family
A person making a list of New Year's resolutions

Are New Year's resolutions still relevant in today's tech savvy, social media age? Turns out the practice of setting a goal for yourself to change or start a new habit still has a place with many people setting a New Year's resolution at the start of every year. New Year's resolutions actually have quite a long track record.

The practice of setting goals when welcoming in a new year date all the way back to the ancient Babylonians. Back then, New Year's Day was celebrated in March, not January. The ancient Romans also had the practice of kicking off a new year with resolutions, as did early Christians. Today, New Year's resolutions aren't necessarily based on religion. Instead, New Year's resolutions are more personal and often involve losing weight, getting the finances in order, ditching a bad habit like smoking as well as decluttering, or organizing the house.

Read more
12 amazing tween birthday party ideas your kid (and their friends) will actually enjoy
Tween birthday party ideas they'll love
Pre-teen girl smiling, holding birthday present

Remember, planning birthday parties when your kids were little? Those were always super fun and relatively simple. Times change though when your once little ones become tweens. When kids get older, planning birthday parties becomes a bit more challenging. For tweens, party planning can be difficult because they are in the transitional phase between tween and teen. Tweens have outgrown the typical kid birthday parties, but they also aren't ready for celebrations more geared toward teens.

The tween age is the years from 9 to 12. So, your soon-to-be 12-year-old is almost a teenager and there are many sensational teen birthday party ideas. The problem is your tween isn't quite there yet. That's okay though. There isn't any need to rush the teen angst. It will arrive soon enough, and there are plenty of exciting tween birthday party ideas to make the guest of honor and the invitees happy.

Read more