A beautiful yard should be more than just eye candy–especially when you live in the Bay Area, where mild weather means you can enjoy the outdoors year-round. When you have a well-maintained yard, you have the perfect place for outdoor recreation, family get-togethers, and more. And for your kids, spending time outside in your yard leads to other great benefits as well.
Here are three ways playing outside can help your kids:
1. Physical Health
While the first thing that comes to mind with outdoor play is that your kids will actually get some exercise, this is far from the only physical benefit that comes from playing outside. As Northern Illinois University explains, outdoor play brings children into contact with dirt, pollen, and germs in a natural setting–which actually makes them “less likely to develop autoimmune disorders and allergies.”
Not only does outdoor play provide the exercise and immune system development that video games can’t, it also promotes better vision. A 2008 study found “children who spend more time outdoors are less likely to become myopic [near-sighted],” meaning less time (and money) spent on vision correction.
2. Mental and Emotional Health
Outdoor play doesn’t just provide physical benefits; it can also have a profound impact on your child’s mental and emotional well-being. Outdoor play is associated with benefits ranging from a reduction of ADHD symptoms to improved emotional development.
These benefits translate to the classroom as well, where playing outside has even been found to “boost language development, problem solving, risk management and independent learning skills. Play is linked to improvements in academic skills, classroom behavior, healthy emotional attitudes and better adjustment to school life.” Giving your kids the opportunity to play outside makes them better prepared for success both in and out of the classroom.
3. Vitamin D
Playing outside also ensures that your kids get enough Vitamin D. Exposure to sunlight is one of the best ways to get your daily dose of Vitamin D, which improves memory and energy levels and even fights disease. In fact, Vitamin D intake is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, bone abnormalities, multiple sclerosis, and the flu, among other medical conditions.
Playing outside each day can help your kids in many ways–but best of all, they’ll have fun while doing so! By encouraging your kids to spend time in your yard each day, you can help them enjoy benefits that will impact the rest of their lives.