Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Benefits of Outdoor Play

   

You don't need to be a jock, run marathons, or have an athlete in the family to inspire little ones to get out and play. Kids are naturally drawn to the outdoors and all the wonders it has to offer. Natural environments foster increased activities and provide children the opportunity to use their "outside" voices, run, jump, dance, and explore. More than releasing some pent up energy, the benefits of recreational play are numerous.

Physical Importance
The act of running, leaping, and jumping marks the foundation of emerging physical skills in young children. It is during this time they learn to become steady on their feet, master handling skills, hand-eye coordination as well as develop manipulative skills such as pushing, pulling, lifting, and carrying.

Health Benefits
With the scary rise in our nation's childhood obesity crisis, the time to introduce children to athletic activities should be done as early as possible. Beyond maintaining a healthy weight, outdoor play improves healthy sleeping habits and makes children happy, which leads to a better immune system.

Intellectual Development
The neurological benefits of unstructured play strengthens intellectual stimulation, enhancing a readiness to learn. In exploring their surroundings, boys and girls will discover many new wonders and expand their knowledge of the world. This exploration encourages question-asking, which leads to enhanced intelligence. 

Another advantage is the discovery of the weather. Sunny days are not the only environments children can benefit from. With the proper attire, kids will enjoy splashing in puddles after the rain, watching the clouds move across the sky on an overcast day, and feeling the wind in their hair and against their skin during a windy afternoon. This experience also enables them to learn the different temperatures as well as what to wear during these different weather changes.

Cognitive Benefits
Playing outside improves memory, thinking skills, and the ability to soak up new information. As kids interact with and study the world around them, their powers of observation increase, their large and small motor skills develop and their endurance is boosted.

Social Advantage
As your child watches their skills grow with each new activity they learn or how the world works around them, their self-confidence blossoms, which in turn translates to a social confidence. Outdoor play allows for group play, which includes taking turns, whether sliding down a slide, using the swing, or tossing a ball. 

For many parents, the joys of outdoor play make up the bulk of their childhood memories. Sadly, the majority of our youth today will not enjoy that same beneficial experience. Much of this is due to the allure of mobile phones, video games, and television. While the pull of these devices can be strong, the appeal of outdoor toys will make children eager to frolic in the sunshine. Imagine your little one hauling toys in her wagon, or helping you garden with her wheelbarrow. Of course, ride-on toys such as bikes are always a winning choice. Add some drivetime signs to your driveway and let them "yield" and "stop" while they pedal along. Toddlers will love a stroller trike which allows them to see the sights of the neighborhood or park while also unleashing some energy. 

All the outdoor toys available at A Kid Place are carefully chosen. Our toys are made from durable steel, wood, and other sturdy materials that withstand the test of time. The toys found here will help your child discover the world around them and meet their individual needs.

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