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Why Kids Benefit from More Time Outdoors

Boy outdoors looking at trees

The average UK child spends only seven hours outside per week, according to a survey by OnePoll. Many children have adapted to the technology-focused world of today, but an educational cycle or walk can show them that there is more to the world than the images on their screens. Spending time outdoors has benefits for kids’ social skills, their physical health and their emotional wellbeing among many other things. Here are some of the reasons your kids should get out more.

Keeping Kids Fitter

Kids are recommended to undertake at least 60 minutes of physical exercise per day. In a generation of gamers and social media addicts, this may prove difficult. Encouraging your child to spend more time outdoors after school will ensure that they get the exercise they need to develop muscles and movement skills. Regular exercise builds great habits for later life, helping to prevent obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, a 2017 study published in the Porto Biomedical Journal showed that outdoor play was essential in the cognitive, emotional and social development of children indicating that physical fitness is just one benefit of the outdoors.

children cycling on the Tarka Trail

Have Happier Kids

Many modern children have grown accustomed to learning about the natural world from the latest documentary, the internet or at school. In fact, according to a 2018 survey, one in nine English children had not visited a park or forest in around a year . Outdoor activity has a range of psychological benefits for both children and adults, including stress reduction and improves mood. A study showed that 90% of adults with depression felt less depressed after a country park walk. Getting the kids accustomed to spending time outdoors may then act as a preventative measure for mental health difficulties during their young lives. It has also been shown to help with mental fatigue, meaning their work at school may improve.

Education and Discovery

Many adults may remember excursions to country parks or going on a cycle trail while at school. These are great opportunities for children to learn about the plants, trees and animals in the natural world and may be a way to ease them away from the television. Kids who have been exposed to this will gain a better appreciation of the environment; a particularly important trait to have in our eco-friendly world. They will also learn essential life skills such as planning, self-discipline and even how to be more creative: all skills necessary for school and work in later life.

Whether it is the effects of being in the natural environment, the fresh air or the physical activity, there are clear benefits to taking your children for a walk, a cycle or even just to play with other kids in the local park. The internet is limited in its capacity to teach children about nature and how to interact with other people, making outdoor activity essential to every child’s development.

Article kindly written by Jennifer London

Why Kids Benefit from More Time Outdoors