Every year, kids are faced with more and more options to captivate their interest. For parents, having a wide range of activities is hugely beneficial. Bored children can be difficult to manage, and the more entertainment options you have, the easier it is to keep them happy. Unfortunately, some of the most important activities that kids need to engage in can get lost in the shuffle.
Specifically, kids need to play outside. Getting out to the playground to swing on a swing set, play tag with friends, learn to throw and kick, or climb a ladder to use a slide are just as important as learning letters or naming colors. Outdoor play isn’t just a way to burn off excess energy, it’s a great way to boost your kids’ development. To give your little one the best possible start in life, it’s important to understand how that is.
Swinging on a swing, climbing ladders, swinging on monkey bars, and running around are much more than simple fun. These activities help kids to develop strong and healthy muscles and bones while also boosting their immune systems. More than that, they give kids the opportunity to develop excellent hand-eye coordination, balance, proprioception, and improved posture as their brain is still developing. As a result, they’ll be able to move more gracefully and with greater agility as they grow up, reducing their risk of injury when engaging in other physical activities throughout their lives.
Cell phones, TV, and educational toys are all designed to mentally stimulate kids, but active outdoor play also plays a critical role. Research has found that children who engage in regular outdoor play tend to think more creatively, and are better problem solvers than those who don’t. It is theorized that this is because outdoor play is typically unstructured, allowing kids to experiment, cooperate, and solve problems in a constantly changing environment. These kinds of learning opportunities have to be sought out on the playground, because they’re simply not available to kids at home, or on any app.
Unlike the vast majority of indoor activities that modern kids occupy themselves with, most
outdoor play has some social aspect. Getting a turn on the swing often means negotiating with whoever is currently using it. Playing tag, or even just kicking a ball around, means organizing a group, or cooperating as a part of one. It might just look like a game, but it exposes children to the concepts of leadership, cooperation, and compromise. Developing early competency in these social skills helps to give kids greater confidence in their interactions, and helps to make them more responsible and autonomous at a younger age than other children.