It can be challenging getting kids outside in this digital age. My kids would rather build a character in a video game and have them run around the block then do it themselves. Fresh air, sunshine and exercise are important elements for kids health and happiness!
Here are 4 reasons why its important to get kids outside and moving.
1. Builds healthier children
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones. Our body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on our skin when we’re outdoors. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics many children have vitamin D deficiencies and this increases their risk for chronic illnesses. The outdoors provides the best place for running, jumping, pushing and pulling on playground equipment which improves motor skills and builds muscles.
2. Builds healthy social and emotional health
Unstructured play helps kids learn communication skills, cooperation and how to handle different situations. Playing outside gives kids the chance to have adventures, play games, test their physical limits, and build self-confidence.
3. Builds better senses
Using your 5 senses regularly helps to develop perceptual abilities. An optometry and vision study found that kids who played outside regularly had better distance vision. Going outside you use your sight to see new things, you smell your surroundings, you hear and touch different things, and maybe even taste new things.
4. Builds happiness and immunity
When your outside, the sun stimulates your pineal gland which is in your brain. The pineal gland is responsible for keeping the immune system strong. Spending time outside is also associated with improved mood and happiness. A new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research found that spending just 20 minutes in a park — even if you don’t exercise while you’re there — is enough to improve mood, reduce stress, and make you happier.
Here is a fun list of 20 things to get your kiddos, and maybe yourself, moving:
- Follow the leader
- Simon says
- Scavenger hunt
- Plant a garden
- Have a picnic at a playground and take a walk
- Capture the flag
- Hide and Seek
- Red Light, Green Light
- Simon Says
- Duck, Duck, Goose
- Musical Chairs
- Soccer game
- Ride bikes
- Water balloon fight
- Climb a tree
- Wash your mom’s car
- Go to the beach and search for shells, crabs, and different rocks
PRO Tip: Want to incorporate a little tech into your outdoor activities? Try one of these popular apps:
Have your kids ever wanted to participate in a real-life treasure hunt?
This app got quite a bit of attention when it first came out, and for good reason—it blends a lot of traditional video game elements (and beloved characters) with real-world interaction.
Take advantage of the outdoors and make memories with your kids!
By Nichole Arthur, Group Fitness Instructor at PRO Club