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In this time and age, children tend to spend more and more time indoors. Most kids are glued to television, smartphones, and other gadgets. But watching cartoons on television or using phones for endless hours can affect their health. Being a couch potato can also lead to obesity in children. On the other hand, playing outdoor games can improve mental and physical health in children. Exposure to outdoor play can also shape their personality and help them develop essential social skills. It is a wonderful way to help them develop life skills. Read on to know what good playing outdoor games can do to your children.
Benefits of Playing Outdoor Games for Children
Benefits of playing outdoor games are plentiful for kids of all ages. Some of the benefits of outdoor activities are listed below.
1. It gives them an opportunity to learn new things.
Playing outdoor games can be a brilliant way to enhance learning abilities in kids. They may learn important life lessons and skills, develop a problem-solving attitude, get to explore nature, acquire new information and an elementary understanding of science. Moreover, when kids learn outside, they think of learning as an ongoing and fun activity not as boring activity which is something they should do in the classroom.
2. It can help in their physical development.
Outdoor play keeps kids active and can boost their physical stamina and fitness. Playing outdoor games can also strengthen their muscles and bones, build immunity, and lower the risk of many diseases like diabetes, heart problems, and obesity. Being in the fresh air and sunshine can naturally provide them with Vitamin D. Being exposed to electronic gadgets for longer duration can impair the vision of children. But outdoor play can improve their eyesight.
3. It can boost their creativity.
Indulging in outdoor games can make children more creative and boost their imagination skills. Being in the open and surrounded by plants and trees, and other objects can stimulate a child’s imagination power and tap into their creativity.
4. It can help them acquire social skills.
Kids who spend time outdoors and play games with each other tend to interact effectively with other kids in contrast to kids who remain indoors and are isolated and withdrawn. If your child spends more time indoors and lives within a shell of his own, you should urge him to go out and play with other children. When kids make new friends, take turns to play without adult supervision, or simply talk to each other, they acquire and improve their social and communication skills without realising. And this skill can help them in the future.
5. It can help them develop a positive attitude.
Children who play outdoors tend to develop a positive attitude towards life and have a calmer and happier disposition. Also, outdoor play provides a great opportunity to channelize their energy in a meaningful way.
6. It helps in personality development.
Outdoor play aid in the personality of a kid. They learn to be independent and self-reliant. They learn to deal with emergency situations, setbacks, etc., sans adult supervision. This instils confidence in them and equips them to tackle life situations later on. Outdoor play also helps them develop qualities like discipline, sportsmanship, and leadership – all of which are useful later in life.
7. It helps improve the attention span in children.
Playing outdoor games can also improve attention span in children. By playing outdoor games, your child’s concentration and observational and reasoning skills will improve. Kids with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) can also benefit from outdoor play – it can improve their attention spans too.
8. It strengthens their motor skills.
Engaging in outdoor games can help kids develop their gross and fine motor skills. They achieve better agility, coordination, and balance by playing outdoor games.
9. It improves their love for nature.
Kids who spend considerable time outdoors may be more inclined to establish a lifelong bond with nature.
10. It makes them lead a healthier lifestyle.
Kids who productively involve in outdoor games are more likely to lead a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle later in their adulthood. They have good decision-making abilities. They learn to challenge themselves and push their limitations thus becoming better at risk assessment.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Outdoor Games?
Excess of everything can be bad. Likewise, too much of playing outdoor games may not be such a great idea. Some of the likely disadvantages of outdoor games can be:
- Kids who indulge in outdoor activities excessively may tend to neglect their studies. It is important that they devote sufficient time to academics as well.
- At times, kids overexert themselves due to their love for playing outdoors. Playing outdoors for long can lead to physical strain.
- Most of the times kids play outdoor games without adult supervision which may give rise to concerns about their safety and likely injuries while playing.
- Parents may like to give special attention to the fact that outdoor games should promote every form of play.
How to Encourage Kids to Play Outdoors
Making outdoor play fun for kids can motivate them to take up outdoor games and sports. You can try taking your kid’s favourite toys like modelling clay, racing cars, ball, etc. outdoors and cheer them on to explore and play with them differently. Here are some tips that you can follow to encourage your kiddo to play outside.
- Lead by example – The best way to encourage kids to play outdoor games is by playing with them. You can initiate an interesting activity like building a bird feeder or painting a wall. When your child will watch you do something fun, he may want to join you and have fun with you.
2. Walk to a nearby market or a park instead of driving – Yes, this will encourage your child to play outdoor games too. Take your kid along and let him observe nature and other kids playing in the park. By looking at other children, your kids may get curious and would want to join them too. While walking to the library, he may notice an object or a landmark on the way and may ask questions. You can take the opportunity to add to his knowledge bank.
3. Take your child for outings. You can plan various outdoor activities like a beach trip, a visit to a botanical garden or a farm to arouse your child’s interest. You can create challenges for him like a treasure hunt or an obstacle task and reward him suitably later on. Taking your child for hiking, camping, or kayaking can also get him interested in outdoor activities!
4. Do not make the outdoor play too ‘educational’ or ‘academic’ – Ensure that your child has fun while he is outdoors. You can teach him new things while you are outside but don’t make his experience educational altogether. Let him be – let him play! Initially, you can accompany your child to parks or nature trails but let him explore on his own. Be around to keep an eye but resist interfering and controlling him. Offer help only when asked.
The benefits of playing outdoor games outweigh their disadvantages. Try and create an inviting conducive playing environment to encourage your child to play outdoors. Outdoor games provide kids with the chance to experience their surroundings employing their senses. Let your child live like a child – let him run around, jump, climb on trees, race, and have fun.
When a child plays outdoors, their concentration and observational skills are improved. Outdoor games and activities also help develop gross and fine motor skills of a child. To make sure that these skills develop the right way in your child and that his other talents develop as well, get educational kits for him. Educational kits that combine learning and fun can sharpen your child’s brain and provide all-round development.
Also Read: Outdoor Activities for Kids