Kids playing outside is a traditional part of childhood, yet in many places today it is becoming more rare. Experts are concerned about this trend for many reasons and it is making me think differently and making changes to encourage outdoor activities at my house!
Next time you head outside on a brisk walk or take your kids to the park, do something for me – look around and come back to tell me what you see. My guess is, you won’t see very many kids playing outside at all.
Sad, isn’t? Well, Experts Say Kids Aren’t Playing Outside Enough and I Have to Agree…
Kids Playing Outside in the Neighborhood
Ever since we moved into our neighborhood about 3 years ago we have made it a goal to take a nightly walk as a family.
Whether it be to walk down to the grocery store near our house, walk over to the park, or even take a stroll through the gulley (a mountain/hiking area near our home) we want to ensure our kids are getting outside every day.
Sure, some days that doesn’t happen but for the most part is does.
Where Have the Children Gone?
One thing we have noticed is that we hardly ever see other kids outside doing the same or even outside playing for that matter.
Truthfully, it’s sad not only for my kids (because I want them to play with other kids their age) but also for the kids in the neighborhood and I am not the only noticing.
We wrote recently about the fact that prisoners are getting more outside time than children.
What is going on here?
What Experts are Saying About Outside Play
In fact, experts are noticing too and they are saying that kids are not getting enough outdoor play which is necessary especially for maintaining an overall well-being.
Dr. Mark Tremblay, a senior scientist at the CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) Research Institute says that the dangers that come from a child being indoors for too long include; increased chances of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, lower bone mineral density and mental health issues.
The belief that kids are safer inside, he said, is “the biggest myth going, because from a health perspective almost nothing good happens indoors.”–Dr. Tremblay, Outdoor Play Canada
And I didn’t know this but apparently parents believe that kids are safer indoors thus keeping them from playing outside. Basically, parents believe their kids will get hurt, kidnapped or something else terrible will happen so they keep them inside where it’s “safe”.
Children Replacing Outdoor Play with Screen Time
Now, he is specifically referring to kids and parents in Canada but, other children have the same issues.
In a study, it was found that children aged 5 to 16 spend on average, 6.5 hours a day in front of a screen. So, it is certainly a problem.
Modern Children and Physical Literacy
Another study by Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in kids ages 8-12 over three years found that only a third of the participants met a basic level of physical literacy.
What is physical literacy?
That means that most kids lack skills like throwing a ball and perform below expectations in aerobic tests, don’t get enough physical activity and what’s more — they don’t want to.–Dr. Tremblay, Outdoor Play Canada
Bottom line is – it is GOOD for kids to play outside.
Allow them to be creative, be in touch with nature, and enjoy fresh air.
The best thing you can do for your child is send them outside.
Heck, go out with them, the outdoors is good for everyone!
Oh, and we have you covered with some really fun ways to play outside…
Fun Things to Do with Kids Outside from Kids Activities Blog
- Take a look at our massive list of activities for 2 year olds for some outdoor play ideas!
- Our printable nature bingo game is fun to play outside!
- Here are some really cool art ideas that you can do as outdoor art projects.
- These outdoor games for kids are super fun and the entire family can get involved!
- If you are looking for a really fun outdoor toy, check out this seesaw rocker that we love.
- Pump up your tires! We are playing games to play on a bike.
- Let’s make some outdoor ornaments like learning how to make wind chimes.
- Make this outdoor toy box to make it easier to clean up after playing outside.
- This outdoor animal hunt is super fun and a cute way to play.
- Download & print our nature scavenger hunt for kids…it works even for younger kids because you don’t need to be able to read to play!
How are you getting your kids to play outside more? What are you seeing in your neighborhood?