Saturday, April 09, 2011

Four Reasons Why Outdoor Recreation Rocks!

Guest post by Lior

When we were kids, there wasn’t any alternative but to play outside. Rain or shine, snow or sleet, we gathered our toys and our friends and hit the road in search of excitement and adventure -- and we found it everywhere.

Playing outside did us a lot of good and helped make us into the people we are today, and it would be good for our kids to have the same experience. Instead of letting kids sit inside watching TV, using the computer or playing on a game console, encourage them to go outside and play, camp out with their friends or have a picnic. Here are four reasons why this is a great idea.


1. Happiness

First of all, playing outside makes your kids happier. Running wild with their friends is part of their emotional development. If they miss it, they will be more stressed and less happy. Think how much you enjoyed taking off with your friends when you were a kid. It made you more self-reliant and able to cope with whatever you met. Your kids need that, too.

2. Health

All that sitting around in front of screens just isn’t good for kids’ physical development. With more kids eating more and more processed foods, it’s more important than ever for children to get outside and get some exercise. This doesn’t have to be a structured activity, like a tennis lesson or soccer practice. Even a game of tag will get children’s heart rate up and instill the essential habit of being active.

This will stave off obesity and illnesses such as diabetes and will contribute to better health later in life. It’s probably also good for them to get exposed to a few germs so they build up immunity. Otherwise, the slightest bug could deplete their immune system. (I’m not a doctor, but it’s a no-brainer.) And exercise will also develop their limbs, building strength and flexibility.

3. Brain Food

Fresh air and exercise don’t just help to develop the body, but the brain. Children who play outside have been shown to do better on standardized tests, which means their brains are working better.

And a program trialing exercise in school before the start of lessons reached the same conclusion. For some reason, exercise and play help children to concentrate better -- and that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

4. Social Development

These days, wherever you go, you see groups of kids gathered around small screens. Sometimes, one is holding a game console while others watch; at other times, they each have their own. What you notice most is that they are not talking to each other. All interaction is with the screen, which is no help at all in your kids’ social development.

When kids go outside and play, they learn to negotiate with each other about the games they play and the rules they will play by, especially if you get them a playhouse. They learn to get along with -- or ignore -- certain personality types. Finally, they learn the social skills they will need to navigate through the rest of their life. See how important outdoor recreation is?

This post is a guest post written by Lior who works for a nursing wear company and also advises to Kids Chair World.

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