Category: Parents & Kids Magazine April 2012 Issue
Parents Kids Family Mississippi Playing Outside Importance
Building forts in the woods, playing baseball at the corner lot, and swinging on the backyard tire for hours on end. Sounds like a typical afternoon for most children, right? Think again. According to the Wisk Active Play Survey, outside play for kids is on the decline. Seventy percent of the moms interviewed said that as children, they played more outside then inside, compared to twenty-six percent of today’s children.
Outside Play is Important to Kids It allows their creativity to flow and relieves stress. They can put on play clothes, get dirty and be noisy. Exploring the world of nature opens up their eyes to the world around them. Children’s development suffers when they only discover their world through TV, computers, and books. Outside play allows them to use all of their senses, not just seeing and hearing. Moms agreed that when their kids played out more often, grades improved, self-esteem went up, and creativity flowed. Not to mention they slept better from all that activity. It is also a giant step towards preventing obesity in children. Too much TV and video-game playing and not enough exercise adds to the trend in childhood weight gain. Getting your kids moving outdoors helps prevent this. Rhonda L. Clements, Ed.D, president of the American Association for the Child’s Right to Play and a professor at Hofstra University says, “Being outside provides a sense of freedom enabling children to discover their environment.”
Get Your Kids Outside This can be easier than you think. Letting them have some say in what they do can help. Allow them to choose between riding their bike for a while or going for a walk with you. Only allow TV time after they have played outside for a certain amount of time. Encourage their imagination and just let them play and be kids. Dedicate time each week to going outside with your kids.
Out of Doors Fun It will only take a few times of making suggestions and your gang will be off exploring on their own. There are many wonderful things to do out of doors. Plant a garden, prepare a barbecue dinner, put up a tent in the backyard, or hold a scavenger hunt. Make time for a daily walk if you can. Let them draw in the dirt, make mud pies, and splash through puddles or simply run across an open field or roll down a grassy hill. Nothing brings out the imagination and reasoning skills like natural play. Making something out of nothing but some sticks and rocks can be a wonderful experience. As Clements so aptly puts it, “Children have wonderful imaginations. Just allow them time to go out and get dirty.”
Author: Belinda J Mooney
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