Giving Kids Their Playtime

Giving Kids Their Playtime

According to CNN, in January 2012, the Pediatrics journal released a study indicating that “Preschoolers in child care centers aren't spending enough time playing outdoors and just being kids”. Apparently, most parents and child care centers are more focused on training kids to academically competent and are cutting play time more and more.

Don’t let your kids be a part of this trend. It’s important to strike a balance between indoor activities such as learning to read, write, etc. and outdoor activities like playtime with you and your spouse, as well as with other kids.

Benefits of Outdoor Playtime

Physical Benefits – Exercise is obviously one of the main benefits of allowing your kids to play outside. Outdoor activities such as running, and playing games like Duck, Duck, Goose give them a physical advantage over those who don’t get a lot of time outdoors.  Letting kids stretch their legs and gain fresh air will strengthen their bodies and allow them to develop strong physical capabilities. Getting your kids’ blood pumping will also increase their overall wellbeing, as the body tends to function better with regular exercise.

Additionally, having ample playtime also allows kids to be physically fit, thus lowering the chances of obesity. Giving people enough exercise and outdoor activities at a young age is extremely important, especially in the US, where obesity is considered a rampant disease and one of the leading causes of death.

Emotional and Social Benefits – On top of the physical benefits, enabling your  children to have their playtime outside can also give them immense emotional and social benefits. Allowing them to make friends and interact with other kids will exercise and develop their social skills.

Letting kids play outside with other kids can also give them a sense of belonging and make them more confident and emotionally capable in the process.

Cognitive Benefits – Think that cognitive development only occurs inside the classroom? Think again. CNN quoted Dr. Kristen Copeland from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio saying that "daily physical activity is essential for preschool age children both for preventing obesity and for their development - their physical development and their cognitive development".

Games like hide and seek and activities like riding a tricycle also hone the cognitive skills of children. Dr. Laura Jana was also cited by CNN saying that when it comes to outdoor playtime, kids “are applying what they learned in a book; they are projecting out and figuring out or making up rules. All of these things are cognitive skills." 

How to Ensure that Your Kids Stay Safe Outdoors

As parents, it’s completely understandable to be a little hesitant when it comes to allowing kids to play outside with other children. However, playtime with others can be a perfectly safe and fun experience for kids, as long as it occurs in the right environment and there is ample adult supervision.

If you’re worried about letting your kids to have playtime with others, start with letting them play with kids that you know.

Also be sure to dress your kids properly. Let them wear closed (but comfortable) shoes, and be sure to always pack hats, coats, and a change of clothes.

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