I have waxed ad nauseum about all the reasons why PLAY is so essential to your children. I don’t just mean the power of playing games on your phone or playing with Lego. I mean the actual physical act of going outside and letting the wind run through your hair. I know a friend who went to teach English abroad and how she was so shocked to see how the emphasis of education is only on the pure sciences and play time was seen as a waste of time. While play time gives you great life skills, there are a few scientific benefits to it that will make anyone change their mind about going out and playing. Apart from better physical fitness and co-ordination, here is a list of just a few of these great benefits.
Enhanced Resistance to Disease –
This New York Times article has mentioned the evolutionary reasons for kids putting dirt in their mouths or just a natural attraction for soaking their feet in sand. The otherwise “gross” things in the outdoors help improve your immunity.
Better Vision –
This study from the Ohio State University College of Optometry says that 14 hours of natural light every week promotes better vision.
Less Stress –
There have been over a 100 research studies on the role of play in reducing stress and the connection between physical activity and positive psychological responses to them.
More Vitamin D –
While there are food supplements that help you with this, there isn’t enough of this nutrient that can be derived from edibles. 80-90% of our vitamin D source is the sun. No points for guessing what happens if you’re indoors all the time.
Improved Attention Spans –
There are studies done by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign that has suggested that even kids with ADHD show reduced symptoms due to outdoor activities. Some studies have shown that your attention span can improve by at least 20% by spending just an hour in nature.