At #KidsOffCouches we’ve always researching the benefits of getting outdoors and we’re not surprised to find the science backs up our hunch, that kids benefit from time outside. We’ve compiled a list of 5 benefits for your reference. Thanks to News.Health.com for an insightful article on the benefits of getting outside, and to Care.com for the great piece on the health benefits of playing outside. Let us boil it down for you.

 

#1 Getting Outdoors – Improves Outlook

Speaking literally, you will see new sights when you head outdoors in a new park or bushland. You could discover all sorts of new plants and animals as you walk through nature’s playground.

Speaking figuratively, walking and running in nature, instead of working out indoors, has been linked to having a positive outlook and a lower risk of poor mental health according to a Glasgow University study.

 

#2 Getting Outdoors – Improves Focus

Regularly getting outdoors could help still your racing mind. According to a study published in Psychological Science, interacting with nature gives your brain a break from everyday overstimulation, which can have a restorative effect on your attention levels. So before you let your kids sit down for screen time, get them out of the house for some green time.

 

#3 Getting Outdoors – Promotes Social Development

When your kids head outside to play on the playground or jump on the trampoline they will inevitably be negotiating and making social decisions. Not everyone can go first on the swings, and the trampoline might be one person at a time. So kids will be learning how to take turns and demonstrate patience. Some other playground games require teamwork, and cooperation is another great social lesson. After all, it takes two to seesaw!

 

#4 Getting Outdoors – Improves Vision

A study reported by Optometry and Vision Science found that children who spend time outside have better distance vision than those who primarily play indoors. And what better way to stimulate that distance vision than a bushwalk looking for different species of birds high up in the trees.

 

#5 Getting Outdoors – Promotes Healthy Competition

Most games incorporate an element of competition, and most competitions have winners. How many of us know how hard it can be to teach our kids to be gallant in defeat? Outdoor games with other children teach this necessary life skill in a natural and safe environment. Your kids will benefit from your coaching here so don’t be one of those sporting parents, you have to demonstrate graciousness in victory too :]

 

We hope this helps give some meaning and substance to the Kids Off Couches discussion. We’re sure most of us are in agreement that kids playing outside is a good thing. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of why, and have some sources to back it up!

 

Keep the conversation going. What other benefits have you observed in your own children from their outdoor play?

 

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