If the weather hasn’t reflected it already, summertime is here! Now is a great time to take advantage of the kids being out of school and engage them in free play, vital to a child’s overall development. The International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association and the Voice of Play want to help show you the benefits of indoor and outdoor play. Find out some of the advantages of each and be prepared when your kids are ready to play—wherever that may be!
- Encourages Creative Flow—Kids are more likely to use their creativity when engaging in certain activities indoors. Arts and crafts and story time encourage kids to be creative, thoughtful and imaginative in ways they can’t always express outside.
- Lowers Risk of Injury—Although kids do need to experience risky play as part of their development, soft indoor play areas can help ease the risk of danger and injury, or prepare your child for an outdoor structure. Soft play areas have a cushioned landing and/or foam and soft padding throughout the play area, like ball pits.
- Provides an Alternative for Hot and Cold Seasons—With indoor playgrounds and gyms, you won’t need to worry about your children burning themselves on hot equipment, applying enough sunscreen to resist sunburn or bundling your kids up in their winter apparel. Some companies even sell indoor gyms for your home that take up very little space!
Photo courtesy of Parenting.com
- Increases Attention Span—This study shared in the American Journal of Public Health has shown that greener, more natural settings appear to reduce ADHD symptoms in children and may encourage more independent thinking. Kids who play outdoors more often may focus better than kids who don’t get much time outside.
- Provides Vitamin D—Kids aren’t getting enough Vitamin D, an essential vitamin, just by drinking milk. The sun provides a free and natural way to reap these benefits and more: preventing heart disease and building strong bones. Be sure to increase Vitamin D in your child’s diet to reach the desired amount of 400 International Units per day.
- Improves Vision—Optometry and Vision Science reported that spending more time outside can help increase your child’s farsightedness, due to the pupil restriction in a brighter light.
Photo courtesy of Cre8Play
By playing both indoors and outdoors, children have even more opportunities to engage in physical activity, which adds additional benefits to your child’s playtime. The American Heart Association suggests that kids should be active for 60 minutes every day. Those 60 minutes, whether two 30-minute periods or four 15-minute periods, can help control your child’s weight, reduce their blood pressure, increase their life expectancy and more.
For more information on any of the previous tips, check out our sources listed below. Playtime starts NOW!