Outdoor play needed for children


Published: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 3:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 3:12 p.m.

Have you ever wondered why the outdoors is so important for children?

It is in the outdoors that children can freely and fully experience, practice and master emerging developmental skills. Many children today are very sedentary, and getting them outdoors, where they can be active, can have obvious benefits, such as helping to prevent childhood obesity.

The importance of outdoor play for children should not be overstated or underestimated. Outdoor play allows children to learn how not to depend on so much technology and more on how to engage their senses, explore the world around them and use both their creativity and imagination.

Playing outdoors can increase a child's physical competence and their enjoyment for the outdoors. It provides children with cognitive, emotional and social developmental experiences. Outdoor play also allows children to release tension and stress because children are given the opportunity to run, jump, skip, climb, etc. It's important for children to relax and get rid of excess energy in the midst of fresh air.

Playing outdoors also helps to strengthen the immune system and improves vitamin D levels.

Often ignored by people, outdoor play also contributes to learning. Children learn more from their experiences and senses, which can enhance their knowledge and perceptual abilities.

Overall, outdoor play is an important childhood experience.

Donna Miller,

Gainesville

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