Children today spend about 4 hours a week on average playing outside, about half the time their parents did playing outdoors. A large amount of time spent indoors is a contributing factor to myopia and other health problems.
Outdoor play is not only beneficial, but it is necessary for young children to grow and develop healthily. Hence, it is recommended that children between two to five years old get at least two hours of outdoor physical exercise daily.
There are numerous benefits of letting your children play outdoors. Here are seven of them:
1. Playing outdoors builds their immune system
Did you know that certain child allergies stem from being in an environment that is too sterile? Going overboard with sanitising reduces natural exposure to all sorts of microbes. Children who play outdoors are exposed to grass, sand, mud which balances their immune system.
2. Outdoor play is perfect for engaging all their senses
A multi-sensorial experience, outdoor play is more than sweating it out. Children can smell the fragrance of flowers, feel a variety of textures from smooth (pebbles, leaves) to rough (tree bark, branches), see and observe insects and butterflies and hear the bustling sounds of nature. All of which is not fully possible in an indoor play area.
Your child is learning as he watches the world around him, taking in new knowledge through outdoor play. Check out these free and fun places in Singapore that promise to excite your kids!
3. Outdoor play is beneficial to health and growth
Exposure to sunlight lets your child can get sufficient Vitamin D. Vitamin D promotes bone health and helps to prevent diabetes and heart disease.
Grounding, or, earthing is an activity where your child walks barefoot on natural surfaces such as on the grass, mud or sand. Direct contact with the earth can energise the body and promotes general well-being.
4. Outdoor play is stress-relieving
Playing outside is one-way children can expend their pent-up energy and emotions from being indoors for long stretches. Green outdoor spaces are great for healing and relaxation as natural light elevates moods which directly affects your child’s mood and temperament.
5. Ignites curiosity about nature and our environment
There are lots of things to be learnt about nature. Instead of learning solelyfrom books, bring your child out to a park where they can observe nature in front of them. It may be dew on a blade of grass, a spider spinning its web or a butterfly breaking out from its cocoon. As children are naturally inquisitive, they will be tempted to find out more about what they’ve observed.Be prepared to answer to your curious little one’s why’s and how’s, mums and dads!
6. Outdoor play helps children sleep better
The amount and quality of sleep that we get is influenced by the amount of light we are exposed to in a day. Artificial light interferes with our circadian rhythms, or sleep-wake cycles, and getting enough sunlight can help the body to adjust the cycles.
7. Outdoor play promotes creativity and imagination
When outdoors, children can have unstructured play, where they can make up their own games with their own rules, or embark onpretend play withitemsfrom nature. A tree branch can be a wand or writing tool. Pebbles can be stacked up to become stone castles.
Being in control of the activities he takes part can be a boost to his confidence.
After an outdoor play session, be sure to replenish your child’s energy levels with a glass ofEinmilkformula milk, which contains nucleotides that are beneficial to babies and toddlers.
What’s your child’s favourite outdoor play? Do tell us in the comments below!