The world isn’t looking the way we thought it would look as we head into the summer. We thought we’d be able to jet off on vacations with our families, head to the beach on sunny days, have playdates with all the neighbors, and partake in neighborhood barbeques. But now, that’s all looking different as we’re stuck in our homes, trying to protect our kids and loved ones from catching any sort of sickness.
Even though the stay-at-home orders are still present—maybe weaning off a bit or staying in place depending on the state—finding ways to get outside is still important, not just because we all crave some vitamin D, but because our kids need that time outside. Though, for now, we may be stuck to the backyard and a deserted beach (if we can find it), getting outside is still essential. Learn some of the key reasons why kids need outdoor playtime below! We’ll even discuss some fun outdoor play ideas!
Makes Them Physically Healthier
One of the most obvious reasons why kids need outdoor playtime is because it helps make them healthier. What better place is there for kids to run, jump, throw, catch, pull, lift, and simply move around? The outdoors allow for all of that! When kids play outside, whether solo or with others, they get aerobic exercise, burn calories, and refine their motor skills. Your child doesn’t have to take on a hardcore workout with mom—sometimes, all they need is a backyard to get creative in.
Promotes Social and Emotional Development
Outdoor play doesn’t just help your kids out physically. The outdoors are also wonderful helpers for promoting people’s social and emotional development. Though the kids can’t go to the playground right now, the outdoor play they had (and that they will have again) helps promote and develop social cues. For example, unstructured outdoor play helps kids learn how to take turns, share, and cheer on and support their peers.
But then, there’s also the cognitive growth from outdoor play. Children are more likely to be inventive, explore, and learn about themselves and the world around them when they’re outside. They’ll invent new games, and their imagination will explode. Outdoor play develops all these skills, which then helps children emotionally—a child who’s confident in these areas of play is typically happier and less stressed.
Gives Them Sunshine
Obviously, on a cloudy day, the kids aren’t getting most of the sunshine they need. But, those glorious days when the sun is constantly present and shining help to develop bones and strengthen our immune system. Though you need to be careful about how much sun exposure the kids are getting, it’s still important that they get sun. Bodies need vitamin D for all the reasons above but also for our moods. If you want a happier kid—take them to the sunshine!
Enhances Their Executive Function
Another big positive about outdoor play comes from the improvement in executive function. Kids learn skills as they grow older, but some scenarios and environments encourage that growth more than others. That’s where outdoor play comes in—they learn how to troubleshoot (especially at the playground), multitask, and enhance their creativity. Kids use their imagination to problem-solve, but that doesn’t come from nowhere. It’s learned and practiced, and outdoor time gives them the opportunity to do just that!
Helps Them Appreciate Nature
Nature is so beautiful. Instead of having your child learn that from documentaries, let them outside and have them determine that from hands-on experience! If you can, take them to the local state park or forest preserve or even to the beach if it isn’t busy—and simply let them play. When a child walks in the woods, digs around in the soil, watches deer whisk through the forest, or splashes in the ocean, they’ll understand what there is to protect. An appreciation for nature will stick with them throughout their years, and they learn it best from hand-on experiences. Even the backyard counts!
Leads to Happier Kids
This might be the most important reason why outdoor play is important. As parents, we want our kids’ lives to be full of joy. We’d do whatever we could to inspire a smile and a bubbly laugh—taking them outside is an excellent way to accomplish that. When kids get to delve into their emotions, interact in the sunshine, play with their loved ones outside, that’s what they crave. Instead of video games or other indoor entertainment, they’ll turn to nature to bring them joy. A happy, nature-loving kid seems quite like perfection, doesn’t it?
Hopefully, these reasons show you how wonderful the outdoors is for your kids! Take some time to let them explore—whether it’s while they soak up in the sunshine in their playpen or draw with some chalk on the driveway. If you’re looking for some easy ideas for fun outdoor play, we’ve listed out a few of our favorite ideas that target those benefits of outdoor playtime. Check it out!
Give your kids some chalk, and let them get creative—hopscotch, drawing, foursquare, or whatever their minds create.
Paint like Monet
Painting outside is a great way to encourage a love for nature and dig into the kids’ creativity.
Use your backyard swing set and whatever else you can find to set up an outdoor obstacle course. It will get their hearts racing and improve their motor function!
Create a Play and Act it Out
Kids could easily do this inside, but why not use all that nature has to offer to set the stage for a homemade play! Sit in the playpen for a night at the theatre!
Nature Scavenger Hunt
Set up a nature scavenger hunt, and have them find colorful leaves, bright birds, and even a worm or two!
Enhance your outdoor fun with California Beach Co! Our outdoor playpen with a canopy is just the comforting piece to add to your backyard. It allows the kids to take a minute of rest but still reap the benefits of outdoor air. And the best part—it’s portable! Take it with you to the beach, to the campground, and wherever else your nature lovers decide to go. Shop our collections now.