The Value of Outdoor Activity With Your Family
A child’s development benefits greatly from outdoor activities. Recent studies show that 90% of our time is spent indoors. Children are spending less time outdoors due to structured academic activities, overuse of computers, and a decrease in inspiring and safe outdoor activities.
In return, this limits their exposure to daylight and fresh air, which are vital to their wellbeing. This lack of outdoor activity can potentially trigger a string of problems that affect their mental and physical health.
Outdoor Activity Can Add Variety to Your Child’s Usual Recreation
Currently, your child may be primarily interested in online games, such as Minecraft. After all, there have been over 200 million copies of Minecraft sold as of May 2020. While that may be entertaining for a while, it is also important that your children have space and freedom to move around, work off energy, and break into a sweat. A significant part of outdoor play is physical exercise, and such activity helps improve speed, strength, stamina, and motor skills. This creates an awareness of their own body, supports the improvement of self-esteem and self-image.
Physical activity that promotes intellectual growth is called embodied learning. When a child engages in outdoor activities, they interact and explore with the outside world. They engage with the environment, learn through touch, and have contact with external reality. This fuels their interest and curiosity to learn more, and impacts how children make sense of the world, learn directives, and acquire abstract ideas. Outdoor activities strongly support the overall brain development of a child.
Outdoor Activity Can Be a Much Needed Refresher for You
Two-thirds of managers say that employees who work remotely increase their overall productivity, so it is no surprise that many employees have been working from home now. However, being a parent is a 24/7 job. Working parents cannot simply switch off from the kids when working at home. This is where flexible working hours come into play. It allows parents to engage in outdoor activities with the children during daylight hours and still perform their job.
It can be a welcome change for the parent as well. If outdoor activity is good for children, it certainly is good for an adult. Discuss with your employer the best working schedule for your situation. Working early or late in the day, split shifts, or any way that allows employees to still get their work done, but under circumstances that work best for you and your family.
Be Conscious of Weather Conditions During Hiking Trips or Other Outdoor Activities
A major concern that parents have with children engaging in outdoor activities is safety. Neighborhoods have become busy with increased traffic and a decrease in safe play areas. Also, the weather is a factor when planning an activity. The National Weather Service reports that it takes a hailstone the size of a golf ball, 1.75 inches, to damage a vehicle, so be aware of the weather forecast before planning any outdoor activity that takes you away from shelter in the event of a hailstorm, rainstorm, or any weather condition affecting your safety.
Remember that the outdoor environment is unpredictable. When engaging in outdoor activities, be prepared with the clothing and other things you may need—bottled water, a raincoat, comfortable shoes, etc. The importance of having appropriate clothing for all types of weather is something children should be familiar with from an early age. Remember also that weather can change, sometimes very quickly. That is why before embarking on any outdoor activity, listen to the weather forecast to ensure you are prepared.
Make it a mission to engage in outdoor activities to improve the environment. Encourage children to plant trees, shrubs, plants, water, and care for them as they grow. Perhaps plant specific trees that will attract butterflies, birds, bees, or other wildlife.
Maybe get some neighbors together to organize a “clean your neighborhood” event and include mini competitions, lemonade, cookies, and ice cream. Whatever outdoor activities you engage in, make it fun, educational, and inspiring! You will all benefit from the experience.