By Sarah Smith
Entertainment in the modern world is increasingly more focused on computers. Movies and television shows are increasingly easier to obtain, computer games look better than ever, and all the popular social networking sites are just a click away. It’s a wonderful addition to our tech-savvy lives in the present, but can come at high cost for our children.
Before computers became integrated into our daily lives, children often found other ways to amuse themselves. They usually played outside to socialize with other children, but it was not uncommon to play alone, and use their imaginations. Whether running around in a park, or climbing on playground equipment, children were often very active in their environment. This kind of behavior yields wonderful advantages for children in today’s world as well.
Most importantly, children should be encouraged to play outside for the physical benefits involved. Oftentimes in play, a child will run or jump, exercising the body in a very healthy fashion. A childhood rich in such playtime will instill good exercise habits early, pushing the child to remain active and healthy with age. It’s much easier to continue a lifestyle than it is to start a new one. The more time spent playing outside, the less time spent in front of a screen, eating junk food out of boredom.
Outside play is also an excellent way to teach basic social skills to children. Many kids are tied to their electronic devices today, having been raised with, and around them. While an efficient form of communication, it deprives them of basic communication skills that are pivotal in forming interpersonal relationships. A child who is accustomed to interacting with others directly will often grow to be an outgoing and confident adult.
Despite the advantages, there are certain risks to playing outside. Children are more likely to hurt themselves while physically active. Bruises and scrapes are common, especially when using playground equipment. If not closely monitored, children can also gang up on one another, causing distress and conflict.
The benefits far outweigh the liabilities. Encouraging children to develop the healthy habit of playing outside will lead to a more active adult lifestyle, prolonging health, wellness, and productivity. Being as physically and socially able as possible now will prepare them to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible later, both personally and professionally. Every child should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential, and encouraging them to indulge in outside playtime is a fun and effective way to ensure that happens.
– This post comes from Sarah at Kompan. To learn more about the benefits of playing outside, check out Kompan Playground Equipment’s website . In particular, the Kompan Play Institute conducts studies into health, social inclusion children’s development during play.