Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Top 5 Reasons Your Child Needs to Play Outside

Let's be real, living in the Pacific Northwest brings it's challenges to get active and be outside with your children all year-round, especially in the rain!  It's time to get active & get outside. Here's the Top 5 reasons your child needs to play outside:

1)  Physical Play.  Children should have at least 60 (or more!) minutes of physical, aerobic activity DAILY.  That means if your child's school isn't taking your child out daily, it's up to you!  It's important to get enough movement for maintaining a healthy BMI and start an active lifestyle at an early age to lower the risk of childhood obesity (nearly 1 in 3 children are overweight in the United States).

2)  Social Play.  Ever notice how intrigued your child is when they are around other children?  You can encourage socialization by giving them the space and freedom to interact with other children in a relaxed environment such as a local park or indoor children's gym.  The key to successfully interacting with other peers is to help your child navigate peer-to-peer socialization

3)  Imaginative Play.  Research suggests that imaginative play (open ended) encourages language development, strengthens cognitive capabilities and stimulates creativity.  Some psychologists believe it helps promote self regulation in children by reducing aggression, delaying instant gratification and practicing empathy. So what if your child hands you a wooden block telephone?  You answer it!

4)  Health Benefits.  Spending time outside raises the Vitamin D level, decreases stress, reduces anxiety and improves sleep (Thinking about your own health benefits right now?).  Also, being exposed to healthy bacteria, parasites & viruses helps boost your child's immune system and keep in mind - a little dirt never hurt!

5)  Balancing Reasonable Body Risk. We all know children like to explore how their body moves and are learning their body limitations by practicing gross motor skills.   Playing outside helps children begin to understand their limits, what they can do for themselves and promotes independence using reasonable risk.

So the next time your child is racing through the house, think about going for a walk or heading to the park.  You might even benefit from it!

Looking for a preschool in Gresham, OR that values children playing outside?  Little Genius Montessori recognizes the importance of movement and takes children outside daily rain or shine.  Call 503-492-8500 today to schedule a tour & learn more about our program!


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