A recent research shows that 50% of US preschool children play outdoors just few days a week, while in the UK 64% of them play outside even less than once a week.
There’s no relation, experts say, between the time spent playing outdoors and the family income or the perceived neighbourhood safety level. It’s just a general trend: parents just don’t want their children to “get dirty” in the mud, to play with other kids or to climb trees.
Nevertheless, there are at least 9 good reasons why children should play outdoors with others, with benefits on their happiness, health, mind and emotions:
- they learn to make decisions, respect the rules, have self-control and problem-solving;
- they feel more free, hence they prefer games resulting from their creativity, imagination and mind;
- nature stimulates their imagination, by consequence, they become more responsible and independent;
- by playing with others, far from parents, they learn how to solve problems and face the mistakes at their own expense; this will help them growing with more self-esteem and awareness;
- they can explore their interests without any pressure;
- they learn how to interact with others, becoming more empathic and sensitive;
- they will make more friends naturally;
- they will feel happier, healthier and more satisfied;
- by releasing their energy, playing outdoors can help them becoming calmer.
In fact, based on a study by the Cornell University, children living in urban areas and not much in contact with nature, are more stressed and anxious than those in rural areas, who are, in addition, stronger. These articles may be supportive too: Reduce stress, improve health with Nature Rx and Immerse Yourself in a Forest for Better Health.
So, let your children grow better and clever: let them play outdoors, in infinite ways…the limit is only their imagination.
How was you used to play outside during your childhood? What games do your children play outdoors now? Which games do you suggest for either a rural or an urban area?