5 Reasons Your Children Should Be Playing Outside Right Now

Letting your children explore the great outdoors and unleash their imagination as they do so can make them healthier and happier. We have worked hard to get our backgarden child friendly since moving in two years ago. We encourage our kids to get out much as possible in the sunshine our rain as we believe it is what is best for them physically and mentally.

Here are just 5 reasons why i think playing outside is so good for your children.

1. It gets them active

Playing outside is a fun way to get your children exercising. Whether they are digging a gigantic hole, playing hide and seek, climbing trees or riding their bikes, they are getting active and enjoying it. This will help them to appreciate that exercise does not have to be a chore: a mindset that will help them throughout their lives.

2. It indulges their natural curiosity

Outdoors there is so much more to discover. Children can learn about the natural world by observing birds, plants, frogspawn, foxes and butterflies. They can practice skills such as camping, pumping up a bike tyre or foraging for blackberries. Children's curiosity needs interesting topics to feed on, otherwise it is in danger of being extinguished. The world outdoors provides plenty of different stimuli for an inquiring mind. If your child is interested in science, for instance, taking the outdoors provides you with so many opportunities to explain everything from the life cycle of a butterfly to why flowers have their bright colours and how they are pollinated.

3. Families can spend time together

Indoors, it may ostensibly look like the family is spending time together. But, really there is little family cohesion if you have one child playing video games and another watching TV while a parent scrolls through news sites online. Outdoor activities can be enjoyed by all of the family at once, whether you go hiking along a nature trail, take the bikes out for a ride or go camping and cook up a meal together over the camp fire.

4. Letting your children loose outside burns off their energy

Children with a lot of excess energy can become irritable and start to act up. Letting them run around for just half an hour outside can enable them to feel much calmer and happier for the rest of the day. This option is so much better than leaving them cooped up indoors, creating mischief by breaking things or picking fights with each other. Letting them burn off energy can enable you to spend time in your family garden shed fixing and tinkering or simply enjoying rest in your summer house.

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5. Playing outdoors releases your child's imagination

When they play indoors on video games, it may seem that the screen is doing all of your child's imagining for them, presenting them with images and story lines that they simply follow passively rather than actively creating. There is something about playing outside that gets your kids' imaginations running at full throttle. A simple sandpit quickly becomes a magical kingdom, whilst a game of hide and seek transports them to new scenarios with a whole cast of characters played by themselves. It is as if the endless variety of nature enables children to realise that their own minds are also versatile and able to recreate the world into something that is both familiar and strange at once.

Incorporate some time outside into your weekly schedule.

It is so easy to find safe places to play outside with your children, even if you live in a city. Gardens, parks, designated play areas and walking trails are just a few examples. Another good thing to do is to take a family holiday specifically to see a natural attraction (such as a mountain to climb). That way, your children will start to see these outdoor attractions as of equal if not greater importance to trips to the cinema, and visits to cultural attractions such as museums and galleries. Once they have got used to walk long distances you can start to consider taking them on longer walks and hikes, but ensure you have the correct hiking gear and knowledge before you head out.

Thanks for reading folks!

Yorkshire Dad

Part-time daddy and lifestyle blogger. Father of 2 boys under 2. Golfer, scare-fan, tea-lover, traveller, squash and poker player. I write on the @HuffPostUK http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/karl-young/

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