Childhood Development: The Role of Outdoor Play
Nowadays, kids prefer to stay at home rather than go outside. Technology is one of the main reasons kids prefer to be indoors. Mobile phones and video games take most of their time. As a result, kids these days are sedentary compared to earlier generations. Let’s take two kids, for instance. We can name them John and David. John likes to play outdoors, and David always wants to be at home.
Naturally, John’s a fun-loving child with many friends. He has excellent problem-solving skills and possesses all the qualities a kid learns while engaging in outdoor activities. He runs and jumps while playing, making his body active. Moreover, he socializes a lot, making him more confident. Being outdoors also helps him to maintain health. David, on the other hand, lacks all these qualities. He turns out to be hesitant and inactive as he has never challenged himself.
Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, which is necessary for the body to function properly. Compared to John, David always wants to be indoors, making him dull and less active. He lacks social interaction, and this also affects his health.
When inactive kids grow up, it will be difficult for them to face life’s challenges: late-night study sessions, overtime work, and many more. If kids adopt a healthy lifestyle, they can carry it into adulthood, helping them manage stress.
Outdoor Activities That Kids Enjoy
Outdoor activity is an essential element for kids. However, you cannot encourage your kid to be physically active if you don’t engage in regular exercise yourself. If you don’t know how to start your fitness journey right, you can hire an instructor with cert 3 and 4 in fitness for one-on-one sessions. As you demonstrate healthy habits, you can ensure that your kid indulges in outdoor activities, too.
Here are some fun outdoor activities that you can do with your kid:
- Hula Hoop Race: This is a simple and fun game. You need two to three hula hoops. Your head should be towards your garden or any open area with lots of greens around. Make your kid and their friends stand in line, hold the hula hoop vertically and roll it on the ground. Call out their names and tell them to run after the hula hoop and catch it. It makes the children active physically.
- Bubble Wands With utensils: Head to your kitchen. Collect the utensils with holes in them like swatters, spatulas, etc. Make your own soap or bubble solution. Dip the utensils in it and try to create the bubble. You need to notice which utensils make more bubbles. This benefits as it involve the child in thinking.
- Treasure Hunt: You can take some items from home. Hide them in the garden and make a list of them. Tell your kid to find the things. This will benefit them mentally as well as physically.
- Target Water Balloon: This is a fun game. Fill some balloons with water, keep them in a tub, and grab your baseball bat. Move towards your garden. Give the bat to your kid, you throw the water ball and tell them to hit. This will increase their accuracy level.
Health Risks of Physical Inactivity
The percentage of kids being indoors and not indulging in outdoor activities has increased so rapidly that it has given birth to several diseases in kids.
- Myopia: Researchers of North-western University found that kids who stay indoors for too long may develop myopia. The reason behind it is that the kids who play indoors have limited distance; they can see and do every activity in artificial light. When kids go outside, they can look at faraway things which are not possible at home. It determines the ability of the eye to focus, which is the length of the retina. If it’s long, the person becomes short-sighted; and if too short, they become far-sighted. The eye needs to stop growing at precisely the right time in the little age.
- Nature-deficit Disorder: Staying indoors has become so serious that a new disease is born. Due to nature-deficit disorder, many behavioral problems can be seen in children. As per Richard Louv, this disorder includes parental fear, fear of natural areas, diminishes uses of senses, etc.
- Obesity: Kids being indoors can result in obesity. Being overweight can give rise to many other diseases. It includes bones and joints problems when grown and if not controlled. Shortness of breath while performing any exercise or even when you are walking can lead to asthma. Being overweight can also cause heart disease.
- Inadequate Sleep: Lack of physical activity can affect the sleep pattern of kids. School-going kids must have 9 to 11 hours of sleep as per their age. Inactive kids face difficulties in falling asleep. Even one hour of irregular sleep at night can create problems for kids the next day. It affects both their body and mind both.
- Depression and Anxiety: Most of the time, being indoors means less socialization and more isolation. Kids don’t interact with many people what makes them feel alone. That can be the reason they are depressed. Kids can have mood swings, too.
Outdoor activities shape the personality of your kid and make them better human beings. They learn about sportsmanship and integrity while playing outside with other kids. Keeping your child at home will do them no good. So open the door to a better life for your kid and take them out into the world.