benefits of outdoor play

Kids today spend so much time indoors. Tablets, computers, video games and other indoor activities have turned many kids into couch potatoes. Growing up, my parents didn’t allow video games in the house or televisions in our bedrooms. If we wanted to be entertained, we were told to go outside and play. Now that I have my own child, I think part of that was so that they would have some peace and quiet…but I’m sure they were also doing it for my benefit! Chris and I are not fans of cooping Aidan up indoors all day. Not only does it drive us crazy, we know it makes him incredibly restless. Fortunately, my sanity isn’t the only benefit to outdoor play!

the benefits of outdoor play

4 Benefits Of Outdoor Play

  1. Mental Health: As an adult, it’s hard for us to take a step back and realize how stressful being a kid is. The demands of school, parents and friends can be a lot of young kids to handle. A trip to the park or outside is a great way for your young one to release some of this built up energy and reduce their stress levels.
  2. Social Skills: Being around other children at a park or other outdoor setting is a great way for kids to practice their social skills. They have to wait their turn to use the slide or use the swing, teaching them a valuable lesson about sharing. Being around other children also helps them learn to play in a group setting.
  3. Physical Fitness: Childhood obesity rates have more than doubled in the last 20 years. Getting kids outside is one of the easiest ways to combat this epidemic. Allowing kids to run free, jump, and climb is a great way for kids to get the exercise they need to stay healthy.
  4. Vitamin D: Having been diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency myself, I know how important it is for children to be exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D deficiencies are one of the most frequently diagnosed vitamin deficiencies, and many doctors relate this directly to children being cooped up indoors.

Did you know that October 4th is National Play Outside Day? What a perfect time to get your kids outside to play! Chris took Aidan out fishing in the morning, one of their favorite things to do together. Aidan is so funny, “casting” his tiny little hook into the lake behind our house. After nap time we took a trip to the park around the corner, which is always a blast! Aidan loves to “fly high in the sky” on the swings and he insists on climbing the rock wall all by himself. Out local park has been a lifesaver for us. Whenever Aidan has a bit of extra energy we just hop in the car and head over. Parks are an important part of our communities. We are fortunate to have many safe, clean local parks. Some communities don’t have that advantage. In fact, Tom’s of Maine is helping to rebuild a park in Detroit, Michigan. They even have a virtual volunteer site set up where you can virtually volunteer your help. All you have to do is click on a park item that you want to support, using Facebook or Twitter. You can then watch your clicks make a difference in deciding what Tom’s of Maine Donates to the park. You can even win a Tom’s of Maine product by virtually volunteering! After you virtually volunteer, paste your social link in the comments below. You can then head on to social media this Thursday to share your own Throwback Thursday picture of your children playing in a park using the hastags #TBT and #50StatesForGood with the link http://bit.ly/1BelA5o. Keep an eye out for my own #TBT picture this Thursday!

What is your favorite park memory with your children?