Spring is in the Air: Why It’s Important for Kids to Get Outside

 

It is an exciting time of year for everyone in the house when the strong sun returns, the days lengthen, and the weather gets a bit warmer than before. The bright rays and lack of snow invite us outside, and that is just where our kids need to be.

Below, we’ll look into the benefits that come along with kids spending time in nature — especially as the weather warms up for the season.

 

Sunshine and Fresh Air

As much as us adults notice the lack of vitamin D over the course of the winter, our kids feel it, too. They need sunshine for bone development, immune system building, and healthy sleep habits. The crisp, fresh air is a bonus to breathe in as well.

A Chance to Move Their Bodies

When kids get outside, they are much less likely to sit down with technology to take up their time. Instead, they will be walking, jogging, maybe even hopping or skipping. They will see interesting sights and set off to explore them. They may use muscles that are not often engaged while climbing playground equipment or give their heart and lungs a workout with a game of “tag.” No matter what the plan is, they are sure to be getting some exercise in while they enjoy the warm weather.

Unstructured Opportunities

One of the lesser-known benefits of outside time for kids is unstructured play time. When children are let to do whatever they please in a welcoming place like nature, they are able to improve their executive function in more ways than one. They build on creativity, confidence, problem-solving, negotiating, multi-tasking, self-control, healthy risk-taking, and more — all while feeling like they are just enjoying the day.

Endless Amounts of Learning

Imagine how much there is to discover in nature when you are new to this world! A toddler can go for a short walk and find five things on the ground they have never seen before. The acorn they pocket can lead to conversations about trees, seeds, squirrels, hibernation, and so much more. Older children can study the types of rocks they discover, the differences in the trees they see, the types of animals in the various locations you explore, etc.

Even STEM skills are at play here as kids build piles, feel various textures, and learn cause and effect in a natural setting.

Games and Activities to Try Outside

So, it is clear that getting outside is extremely beneficial. What can you do once you are out there? Many times, our children will take the lead and we can just follow along. If you are in need of a few ideas to get started, however, we’ve got plenty to share:

  • Go for a walk and look for signs of spring
  • Grab an empty bucket and collect natural items as you explore your yard or local park
  • Go for a family bike ride
  • Fly a kite on a windy day
  • Blow bubbles out front and watch how high they rise in the sky
  • Plant a garden to take care of throughout the season
  • Grab the hose or a bucket of water and wash your vehicle
  • Draw on the driveway or sidewalk with chalk — tracing yourselves is a fun twist to try
  • Play your child’s favorite sports game
  • Make a birdfeeder and watch as its visitors begin to arrive
  • Bring your child’s favorite toys out to play
  • Splash in puddles on a rainy, wet day

For more fun ideas on what to do outside with your child, check out this giant list from VeryWell Family.

No matter how old your child is, babies and teens alike are positively affected from time spent outside. Consider the benefits listed above and make time in your schedule this season to let your kids play in nature — they will surely grow from the experience in more ways than one.