As a little keiki, being outside was the most fascinating and wondrous place to be. There were trees to climb, heights to see, forests to crawl through, forts to build, and an ocean to swim in. The outdoors offered so much wonder and excitement! There was always something new to discover. When I was in preschool the phenomena of the desktop computer came into the picture and has never left, but it'll never replace nature and the joy of being outside. Time outdoors is truly irreplaceable.
Every year children are growing up with phones from a younger and younger age. Soon too, babies will have electronic means of communicating. Just kidding, but maybe not?! According to The Child Mind Institute, an American child spends an average of seven hours a day in front of a screen and only 4 to 7 minutes outdoors. That calculated proportion is preposterous! We are all guilty of spending too much time looking at our screens, yes. With a rapidly changing world of technology, we are glued to our phones and computers more than ever. This is why it's so important to advocate for “green time over screen time” for our children. There are numerous benefits many of which are essential to the development of a child. Some of the which include physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development. With that, let the children play outside. Here is a list of some of those benefits.
Better health: Playing outside improves children's health. The big outdoors allows them to be active, play, and exercise. Being physically active helps prevent obesity and other health issues.
Boost the immune system: Most people are vitamin D deficient, and one of the best ways to get vitamin D is from sunlight. Children who play outside have higher levels of vitamin D, which in turn strengthens their bones and immune systems.
Healthy eating: When children are engaged in activities like gardening from a young age, they are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables, which helps them make healthier food choices.
Increased openness to parents and adults: When kids have the opportunity to run around and use their energy to enjoy activities, they are actually calmer and more relaxed in the school or home environment.
Greater sense of self-awareness and independence: Playing in nature allows children to develop a greater sense of self-awareness and independence. When theyʻre outside, there are endless things to observe and be aware of. It gives them an idea of their place in the world and how they interact with it.
Improved coordination skills: Playing outside improves childrenʻs coordination, balance, and agility. Whether itʻs playing soccer, frisbee, or running around, theyʻre gaining confidence in their physical abilities and strengthening their coordination skills.
Creativity: Children who play outside engage in more imaginative games, interact more with their peers, and get along better.
Do better in school: Children who are exposed to outdoor learning and environmental education score higher on standardized tests.
Appreciation for nature: When children develop a relationship to nature and the great outdoors they are more likely to grow up with a deep sense of appreciation for the environment and will more likely preserve and protect it.
Kind behavior: Children are less likely to engage in bullying when they play in natural environments.