The American Academy of Pediatrics says lots of outdoor play is critical to the health of young children, and recommend 3 hours per day for children under 6-years-old. There is freedom and activity associated with the outdoors that cannot be replicated inside.
If children are given the freedom of play outside, say the experts, we’ll see healthy children.
Children should be active every day, and getting outside to play is one way to be sure that happens.
The physical benefits for children when playing outside are numerous. They are developing their reflexes, balance and building stronger muscles. Their flexibility, bone density and gross motor development are improved. These developments of the body then lead into improved fine motor control such as holding a pencil or paintbrush and using a fork.
Being active outside can also support a healthy lifestyle and encourage children to continue physical activity, as they get older.
Outdoor play also supports improved sleep as well as heart and lung function.
Outdoor physical activity strengthens the immune system and improves vitamin D levels, which can provide protection from osteoporosis and health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.
With the growing concern of obesity in our youth, the earlier we can help support a lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise, the more it can become a part of a child’s routines.
Exposure to sunshine is another essential factor. Our bodies need sun, and work best when they get some sunshine every day. It affects our mood.
Sun exposure is essential to make vitamin D, a vitamin that plays a crucial role in many body processes, from bone development to our immune system. Sun exposure also plays a role our immune system in other ways, as well as in healthy sleep. Exposure to sunlight helps regulate sleep patterns, and physical activity helps children fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep.
In summary, our bodies work best when they get some sunshine every day.