17 Apr 10 Benefits of Outdoor Play
When I was a child, outdoor play was the norm. I spent hours with the kids on my block building forts in the snow, riding bikes to team practices, and choreographing dance routines until dark. Now, children struggle to find friends to play with outside choosing to play indoors with their electronic devices. Parents have to make an effort to encourage their children to go on adventures beyond their porch. They understand that there are benefits to playing outdoors even if their kids do not.
As a therapist, I understand the benefits of time spent outdoors in play. Sometimes that could look like hanging on monkey bars. It can also be exploring for seashells on the beach. I also understand that being outdoors isn’t always ideal due to weather, safety in neighborhoods, and more. The message is not to feel shamed or pressured into playing outside instead of the comfort of your home. The message is to consider it as a good, equally beneficial, and sometimes better option when it can be. Here is a brief list of some of the benefits of outdoor play.
10 Benefits of Outdoor Play
- Improve motor skills like balance, strength, and coordination
- Improve executive function skills like planning, problem solving, and prioritization
- Reduce risk of obesity
- Reduce risk of nearsightedness
- Create opportunities for collaboration and social interaction
- Increase the change for appropriate risky play
- Enhance sensory experiences with natural elements
- Use imagination to create activities
- Increase absorption of Vitamin D
- Live a healthier and happier life
If you are inspired to learn more about outdoor play, check out Playapy Founder Amy Baez interview fellow pediatric occupational therapist Laura Park Figueroa, CEO of Outdoor Kids OT and Therapy in the Great Outdoors. You can learn more about the benefits of outdoor play, nature-based OT services, and tips for everyday play including bringing nature indoors. Watch the interview here.