Everyday, I try to find a way to get my kids outside. They walk to school, ride bikes, play catch, build snow forts, have water fights, and play at the park. Sometimes we spend lots of time outdoors like when we are camping for the weekend, while other days it’s a quick walk to the mailbox. There’s a reason I want my kids to get outside everyday and why it’s one of my priorities.
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Vitamin D – Our bodies produce Vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the sun. Vitamin D helps the development of healthy bones and teeth. Research suggests Vitamin D also helps fight depression, reduces the likelihood of getting the flu.
Being Active – Physical activity is so important to our bodies. Why not teach the importance of exercise at an early age? Being active can reduce the chances for obesity, heart disease, and the common cold. Exercise doesn’t have to be difficult either. That walk to school or bike ride in the park is exercise. Make it fun!
Creativity – Rather than have my kids bounce around the house, I get them outside. Once they are outdoors, they play for so much longer than they would inside the house. One game often leads to another and another. Often the games do not even involve toys, instead the play is creative and imaginative.
Develop Gross Motor Skills – Different surfaces, slopes, and environments is important to the growth and development of our gross motor skills. Splashing in a puddle in the street is not the same as a puddle in the grass. How we respond to the these different situations is important. In our front yard, our kids climb the fence, draw on the sidewalk, play basketball, catch a football, and bike down the street. Where else can you play that many games in one hour and use so many skills?
Better Sleep – The more active my kids are, the better they sleep. Getting sleep is crucial to all of us, but especially for our kids. Sleep promotes growth, keeps our immune systems running, increases attention our spans, and may boost learning.
Learning Environment – Every time we step outside, a child asks a question. What bug is that? Why are there so many worms in the garden? Why is our grass dying? Why are the clouds moving? What a great learning opportunity! I might not have all the answers, but kids ask questions when they want to learn about something. If I don’t know the answer, often we look it up together. My kids have even started saying, “Just ask Google.”
Spending Less on Toys – Believe it or not, we don’t spend a whole lot on toys and my kids don’t mind. Why? They are too busy doing things outside! They dig in the garden, play with sticks, climb trees, and build forts with blankets. Outdoor toys my kids always play with include sidewalk chalk, bubbles, all kinds of balls, and bikes.
What are your reasons for getting outside? Do you have any I hadn’t thought of? Share your thoughts in the comments and make sure to spend some time outdoors today!