Playing outdoor games have benefits over being indoors that can help shape children’s personality and life skills. They can learn to handle challenges and setbacks in a positive way that will stay with them throughout their lives.
Getting outdoors and exposing yourself to sunlight will also improve your sleep pattern and mental wellbeing. It has been shown to reduce symptoms of ADHD, as well as improving focus and concentration.
1. Physical Exercise
Playing outdoor games is a great way to get some physical exercise. It helps improve blood circulation, strengthens muscles, and reduces stress levels. Additionally, it can help kids develop a strong immune system.
Children will show different interests at various life stages, but all kids benefit from playing outdoors. For younger kids, unstructured outdoor play can teach them to take turns, share and learn more about the world around them. It can also improve their attention span because focusing on a game requires some concentration.
When playing outdoors, kids build their gross motor skills – the large muscles of their bodies. They will develop strength, flexibility and agility and learn to cross their midline while engaging in activities such as chasing games or hopping rope.
A round of tug-of-war, capture the flag, or a jump rope competition can be a great way to keep the whole family active. These games can also help kids develop teamwork and problem-solving skills. Whether you are an expert at pickleball or just a certified klutz, there is a perfect outdoor game for everyone.
2. Improves Memory
Outdoor games are fun for kids and help develop their gross motor skills. Running, jumping, and throwing help children build coordination and balance. They also learn about the world around them and develop their social skills as they play together.
When playing outdoors, children need to focus to follow rules and stay engaged in the game. This helps to improve their attention span and memory. Moreover, playing outdoors exposes children to different stimuli than indoor games, such as the changing seasons, fresh air, and varying terrain. This helps to increase their cognitive abilities and promotes mindfulness, which is a common technique for improving mental health.
A study done by University of Michigan found that walking in nature improves memory, especially when compared to a city street walk. Children who play outdoor games will have a more intuitive, “embodied” understanding of science, for example, it’s much easier to understand how mud feels when you feel it squish through your fingers or when you observe ice melting in the sun. This kind of understanding helps them better grasp difficult concepts in school.
3. Reduces Stress
Playing outdoor games is a great way to get kids away from their phones and TVs. It also helps reduce their stress levels. Studies have shown that being in nature, or “forest bathing”, can help lower anxiety, improve sleep and reduce the symptoms of depression.
Outdoor games require children to think strategically, practice teamwork and problem-solving skills, and work up a sweat. All of this activity can help kids develop a greater sense of self-confidence and independence. It can also help them feel more comfortable in social settings.
Many kids spend a lot of time indoors, attached to their computers or watching television. This can lead to a lack of physical activity, weight gain and poor mental health. Children who regularly play outdoors are healthier and more socially savvy. One study found that kids who spent a lot of time playing outside were more cooperative and better able to express themselves in social settings. It was also found that these children were able to fall asleep more easily at night. (1)
4. Improves Creativity
When kids play outdoors, they activate their natural sense of wonder, curiosity and creativity. In addition, outdoor games can help kids learn to use their imaginations and come up with creative solutions to problems.
Kids also develop their gross motor skills – the large muscles of the body – when playing outside. For example, when they run around chasing each other, they improve their balance and coordination. This is especially important for children who have trouble with balance and coordination, like those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
The open spaces and varying terrain of the outdoors can also help kids become more inventive during their games. For instance, when they play Capture the Flag, a classic outdoor game, kids divide into opposing teams and try to capture each other’s flag.
This requires teamwork and strategic thinking, which is great for kids’ brains. Moreover, the fresh air and sunlight during outdoor play can improve sleep patterns, which is good for the body. So, next time you’re planning a backyard barbecue, stock up on some cool outdoor games to keep the family entertained!
5. Improves Social Skills
Kids play more with each other outdoors than they do indoors because it’s easy to meet and play with other children in open settings without parents breathing down their necks. This helps develop social skills. It may also help them feel less overwhelmed. In a way, it’s like they’re in a world without the constraints of an indoor setting and can talk about their feelings freely with other children or adults.
Playing outdoor games with friends also helps develop teamwork and communication skills. This is especially important for kids who spend too much time indoors and are isolated from their peers. In addition, playing outdoor games allows kids to practice taking risks. It might mean they get a scrape or fall once in awhile, but the experience will teach them how to recover from these mistakes and not be afraid of trying new things.
In this day and age, most kids are attached to their televisions and phones for long periods of time, which can be unhealthy for them. Exposure to the outdoors can improve their mental and physical health, shape their personality, and help them develop essential life skills.