It is a common sight to see kids playing on their video games, computer games or PlayStation in their spare time. The other lot may spend their free time watching television or reading comics. The only thing common in these kids is that they spend all their spare time indoors, and totally abstain from any physical activity that is to be undertaken daily. The concept of playing on playgrounds or climbing trees is nearly extinct today. Not many people are aware, but, outdoor games are essential for physical as well as overall development of children.
Benefits of Outdoor Games for Young Children
One of the most important benefit or use of outdoor play is improving physical fitness. Children, who do not undertake any physical activity, have lesser stamina and fitness. They become lethargic and also highly prone to injury. On the contrary, kids who have a regular outdoor games have more stamina, energy and also flexibility. This is because outdoor games and sports increase endurance. Outdoor games also help in improving muscular and bone health. Similarly, outdoor games and activities are biggest stress busters for kids as well as adults.
Secondly, when talking of fitness, we also find that children who spend a considerable amount of time on the playground every day are fit and maintain a proper weight. Childhood obesity is a burning issue in developed nations today. The only way of treating and preventing childhood obesity is having a good outdoor game every day. Any outdoor game, or even simple activities like running or jogging can burn large number of calories, resulting in weight loss. Therefore, the calories consumed by kids during the entire day get burned due to outdoor games, and hence, the child does not gain excess weight.
One of the major aspect of outdoor activities for children, that is often ignored by people, is that outdoor play also contributes in learning. It should be noted that toddlers and children learn more from their experiences and senses than from books. For e.g., if a kid actually sees the kiwi bird, he will understand the concept more clearly than reading about it. Therefore, it should be remembered that when children spend time outdoors, they see, observe and experience things which enhance their knowledge and also perceptual abilities. Children also learn to appreciate nature and may also inculcate aesthetic sense at an early age.
When a child plays outdoors, he usually does so in a group. Therefore, it greatly helps in social development and enhancing social skills. Children make new friends when playing outdoors, learn how to interact with each other, learn skills of negotiation and also learn how to adjust to surroundings and people. Children cultivate values like communication, adjustment, understanding, sharing, etc. when they play outdoors. Mixing with others also helps in boosting confidence. If you have observed children playing in the open, you will find that they run, shout, jump, laugh, etc. It helps in developing a sense of freedom and independence in children.
Lastly, as a helpful tip, parents themselves should set an example by undertaking a physical activity every day, or subscribing to a sports club. Good luck!