Spring and summer brings blue skies, warmer air, and the sound of children playing outdoors. With this welcomed change of season we are all reminded that there are quite a few real benefits to being and playing outdoors.
Children who go outside learn how to solve real-life problems and gain valuable life skills by getting along with friends, playing games and finding the best way to build a fort. Getting outdoors also provides children with inevitable exercise and fun, something every developing mind and body needs. Riding bikes, playing tag, throwing or kicking a ball or even digging in the garden gets children's bodies moving, something playing video games or watching TV cannot accomplish.
Outdoor physical activity can also help today's kids reduce their stress levels as it’s relates to busy schedules and long school days. Frequent access with nature and parks can positively impact behavioral conditions that would simply benefit from not being indoors.
One of the skills many children are lacking is imagination. In today's age of technology, children are provided with images for everything and this can replace or distract from developing ones natural imagination. Free play and unscheduled time has declined over the last 25 years.
According to a few new reports children between ages 2-5 now spend more than 32 hours a week on average in front of a TV. The amount of screen time only increases with school-aged kids, who spend over 7 hours a day on digital media.
Just 10-15 minutes in the sun will give our children their daily dose of vitamin D. This natural, abundant, and free source of Vitamin D helps promote better moods, energy levels, memory and overall health. So encourage children to go outside, get moving and connect with the natural world, these are all ways to nurture creativity and imagination because kids who play outside are happier, healthier and stronger!
Find out more about your Sonoma County Regional Parks.
This story adapted from an article in Youth First via CA Parks & Rec Society.