The benefits of spending time outdoors cannot be understated. Many people spend more time outdoors, and they get more exercise. The fresh air and sunshine also boosts mood. Research suggests that physical activity has many mental benefits. It also helps reduce stress. People with mental health issues can benefit from getting some fresh air and sunshine. Whether you’re a child or a parent, taking your kids out to play and spend time in nature is a healthy habit.
While getting your children outdoors can be a challenge, consider these three ways to engage them in outdoor play. Consider taking advantage of everyday tasks like sweeping the driveway, hanging clothes on a line, or watering vegetables. For families without a yard, you can also take advantage of local parks where there is ample space to play. Children who love to collect objects will enjoy this outdoor activity. They can sort objects by color, texture, and shape. If they like to play pretend, you can let them take turns playing the role of the “ant queen.”
Children who play outside develop observational and reasoning skills. The freedom to move allows them to explore their environment and see things in a whole new light. They learn about cause and effect and gain a deeper appreciation for nature. A recent study found that eighty-seven percent of adults who spent time outdoors as children carried their appreciation of nature into adulthood. Most of these adults consider environmental issues a top priority. But the benefits of outdoor play go beyond the physical health.
Aside from being a healthy lifestyle, outdoor recreation can help promote the U.S. economy and raise awareness of conservation issues. It also encourages individuals to care for public lands, which is essential for our future prosperity. In the United States alone, the outdoor recreation economy supports more than 5.2 million jobs, generates $788 billion in consumer spending, and contributes 2.1 percent of GDP. And, for those who are wondering, why shouldn’t we care about environmental health?
Despite the dangers of infection, fresh air can make people feel healthier and prevent illness. Experts recommend that outdoor dining, swimming, and other outdoor activities be done in designated places that are free of staph-causing organisms. If you’re unsure, don’t forget to wear a mask and maintain a social distance of six feet. In addition, if you’re visiting an outdoor restaurant or a public swimming pool, be sure to consider using hand sanitizer.
People of color are significantly underrepresented in outdoor recreation, and this trend is rooted in a history of discrimination. According to a report published in 2021 by the National Park Service, people of color are increasingly involved in outdoor recreation. Moreover, parks have a vital role in preserving nature and promoting diversity. It is essential to reframe the narrative around outdoor recreation to reflect the history of the outdoors and promote inclusion among people of color.
Playing outdoors improves kids’ sleep. According to a study by the University of California, kids who spend a lot of time playing outside have longer and deeper sleep at night. This may be attributed to the physical activity, natural light exposure, and stress reduction that the environment provides. Toddlers love challenging themselves and may venture further away from their caregivers. Outdoor play also provides children with opportunities to sprint and move faster. This helps them develop a positive attitude towards a healthy lifestyle as adults.
Parents should be encouraged to participate in outdoor play, as well. Professionals should explain the benefits of outdoor play to parents and make every effort to involve parents in the process. While some parents may be skeptical of the idea of spending time outdoors, most families are concerned about their children’s well-being and development, so professionals should be proactive in making the process as pleasant and stress-free as possible for all parties. The benefits of outdoor play can be reaped for many years to come.
Creating an outdoor living space can greatly increase the value of your home and its curb appeal. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing environment or a more active place to entertain guests, adding an outdoor kitchen or fireplace to your yard can boost your home’s value. With a few simple changes, you can enjoy your yard year-round. So, get creative! You’ll be happy you did! Just remember to enjoy your backyard while you have the chance.