15 Benefits of Playing Outdoor Games for Kids

15 Benefits of Playing Outdoor Games for Kids

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 the benefits of outdoor games for your children.

Benefits of Playing Outdoor Games for Children

Playing outdoor games isn’t just a fun way for kids to pass the time; it also offers a ton of benefits for their physical and mental well-being. Outdoor games get children moving and active, which helps them develop strong muscles and coordination. Plus, fresh air and sunshine can improve their mood, boost their immune system and even enhance their cognitive function. And let’s not forget about the social benefits of outdoor games- they provide an opportunity for children to make friends, learn how to communicate effectively and develop their teamwork skills. So next time your child is cooped up inside, get them outside for some good old-fashioned playtime!

1) Physical Development Benefits

Playing outdoor games not only provides fun and excitement for kids but also benefits their physical development in various ways. Physical activity is crucial for children’s growth and development, and outdoor games offer a wide range of opportunities to engage in different types of physical activities. In this article, we will explore some of the physical development benefits of playing outdoor games for kids.

Physical Development Benefits

1. Enhances gross motor skills

Playing outdoor games helps children to develop gross motor skills such as running, jumping, and throwing. These activities require the use of large muscle groups and improve their coordination, balance, and overall physical ability.

2. Boosts cardiovascular health

Outdoor games require physical exertion, which helps in improving the cardiovascular health of children. Regular physical activity can lower the risk of heart disease, obesity, and other health issues.

3. Improves bone strength

Outdoor games that involve running, jumping, and climbing can also help to develop bone strength in children. Stronger bones can lower the risk of injuries and fractures, and promote healthy growth and development.

2) Social Development Benefits

Playing outdoor games has significant social development benefits for children. These activities can help kids build their social skills, improve their communication, and enhance their overall emotional intelligence. Here are three ways that playing outdoor games can help with social development:

1. Improved Social Skills

Playing outdoor games requires children to interact and work with others, which helps develop their social skills. Through these activities, children learn to communicate effectively, compromise, and cooperate with their peers.

2. Increased Self-Confidence

When children participate in outdoor games, they can develop a sense of confidence in their abilities. As they master new skills and engage in friendly competition, they can feel more self-assured and confident in themselves.

3. Enhanced Empathy

Outdoor games can also help children develop empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. By working with others and competing in a friendly way, children learn to respect their peers and see things from their perspective.

3) Emotional Development Benefits

As kids grow, their emotional well-being becomes more important than ever. Outdoor games provide ample opportunities for children to learn emotional regulation, social skills, and develop positive relationships with peers. In this section, we will explore three emotional development benefits of playing outdoor games for kids.

1. Stress Reduction

Outdoor games are a great way for kids to reduce their stress levels. Activities like running, jumping, and playing ball release endorphins, which help to reduce anxiety and increase happiness. Additionally, playing outside helps kids to disconnect from electronic devices, which can be a significant source of stress.

2. Increased Self-Esteem

When kids participate in outdoor games and sports, they develop a sense of pride and accomplishment. As they improve their skills and physical fitness, their confidence and self-esteem grow. Positive feedback from coaches and teammates also boosts their sense of self-worth.

3. Better Emotional Regulation

Outdoor games can teach children how to manage their emotions in a healthy way. During games, kids must learn to control their impulses and handle disappointment, frustration, and anger constructively. As they develop these skills, they become better equipped to navigate the ups and downs of life.

4) Intellectual Development Benefits

When kids are engaged in outdoor games, they don’t just have fun – they also develop valuable cognitive skills. Here are three ways playing outdoors benefits a child’s intellectual development:

Intellectual Development Benefits

1. Problem-Solving

Outdoor games provide opportunities for children to encounter challenges and develop problem-solving skills. Whether it’s figuring out how to climb over an obstacle, strategizing to win a game, or finding creative ways to use their surroundings in play, children are encouraged to use their minds to overcome obstacles.

2. Creativity

The open-ended nature of outdoor play encourages children to use their imaginations and be creative. They can explore different scenarios and experiment with new ideas without the constraints of a structured activity or limited resources.

3. Focus and Attention

Outdoor games also help children improve their ability to focus and pay attention. They need to stay alert and aware of their surroundings, as well as remember and follow rules. This can help improve their attention span and concentration, which can be beneficial in academic settings.

5) Mental Development Benefits

Mental Development Benefits

As kids grow and develop, it is important to ensure that they receive well-rounded stimulation for their mental development. Playing outdoor games can be a great way to provide this stimulation, leading to numerous mental development benefits.

Here are three benefits of playing outdoor games for kids’ mental development:

1. Improved problem-solving skills

Outdoor games often require children to think critically and solve problems on their own, which can help develop their problem-solving skills.

2. Boosted creativity

Outdoor games often involve imagination, creativity, and improvisation, which can help children to think outside the box and develop their creativity.

3. Enhanced cognitive skills

Outdoor games can also aid in the development of children’s cognitive skills, such as memory, attention, and concentration.

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.

1. 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.

How to Encourage Kids to Play Outdoors

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 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.

5. Make it fun – Encourage your kids to play outdoors by making it fun for them. Organize scavenger hunts, obstacle courses, and other fun activities that they can do with their friends.

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.


1. What Are Some Outdoor Adventure Activities For Children?

There are countless options for children to enjoy the great outdoors! You could try camping, hiking, fishing, kayaking, or even just a day trip to the beach. Children can learn about the environment and the world around them through these activities, and they can also gain important skills like problem-solving and decision-making. Whatever activity you choose, it’s important to prioritize safety and ensure that your child is properly equipped and supervised. So, pack up the sunscreen, grab some snacks, and head outside for some unforgettable adventures with your little ones!

2. What Are The Three Categories Of Outdoor Games For Children?

When it comes to outdoor games for kids, they can be divided into three main categories: sports games, cooperative games, and imaginative games. Sports games involve physical activity and competition, such as soccer, basketball, and tag. Cooperative games involve teamwork and collaboration, such as relay races, scavenger hunts, and obstacle courses. Imaginative games involve creativity and imagination, such as make-believe play, hide-and-seek, and storytelling. Each category offers unique benefits for kids, including physical activity, socialization, and creativity. By engaging in a variety of outdoor games, children can develop a well-rounded set of skills and have fun at the same time.

3. What Are Some Popular And Traditional Outdoor Games For Kids In India?

India has a rich tradition of outdoor games that have been enjoyed by generations of children. Some of the most popular and traditional outdoor games for kids in India include Kabaddi, Kho-Kho, Gilli-Danda, and Lagori. Kabaddi is a team game that involves players crossing over to the opponent’s side and tagging them before returning to their own side, all while holding their breath. Kho-Kho is a chasing game that requires quick reflexes and strategic planning. Gilli-Danda is a game of skill that involves hitting a small wooden stick (gilli) with a larger one (danda) and sending it flying through the air. Lagori is a game that involves throwing a small ball and knocking down a pile of flat stones. These games not only provide physical exercise but also promote teamwork, strategic thinking, and cultural heritage.

Playing outdoors improves a child’s concentration, observational skills and gross motor skills. To make sure that these skills develop the right way, along with other skills that your child will need throughout life, subscribe to Intellikit, a monthly activity box subscription for kids. This kit combines learning and fun, working to sharpen your child’s brain and promote all-round development through interactive activities. Simply subscribe, enter your child’s age, and receive a kit at your doorstep each month!


1. American Academy of Pediatrics, The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children, https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/142/3/e20182058, 2018.

2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. (2008). 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Retrieved from https://health.gov/our-work/nutrition-physical-activity/physical-activity-guidelines/previous-guidelines/2008-physical-activity-guidelines

3. American Psychological Association, Exercise fuels kids’ emotional intelligence, https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2020/02/exercise-kids-emotional-intelligence, 2020.

4. President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Midcourse Report: Strategies to Increase Physical Activity Among Youth, US Department of Health and Human Services, https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/pag-mid-course-report-final.pdf, 2012. Accessed May 06, 2023.

5. Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, Building the Brain’s “Air Traffic Control” System: How Early Experiences Shape the Development of Executive Function, https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/executive-function/, 2021.

Also Read: Outdoor Activities for Kids

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