In this day and age of technological advancements, it’s easy to just pop kids in front of a TV screen or give them an Ipad to play with when they’re bored. However, many of us remember that as children, it was as if we never came inside. While children today may be more keen on utilizing technology as a way to kill time, many studies allow us to recognize the importance of playing outside. And, in this blog, we uncover the advantages children receive when parents and teachers encourage playing outdoors at young ages.
According to world-renowned psychologists like Jean Piaget, cognitive development in children happens as a result of experience. So, children see the world based on what they do on a daily basis. While children can learn of the world by watching movies and reading books, they can better imagine and understand them when they’ve experienced similar environments. Encouraging children to play outdoors can help to shape their view of the world in a way that includes outdoor environments.
It can be challenging to imagine an expansive desert in a living room. Or, towering jungles in a bedroom. Obviously, children have vivid imaginations. And, being outdoors allows them to further their creativity and exercise their imagination. With only a bit of opportunity, children can learn to use their environment in a way that allows them to engage in creative and imaginative play. And, who doesn’t want that for their children?
Unfortunately, children are spending too much time in front of screens and are suffering the consequences. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children 2-5 years of age should only be spending one hour a day in front of a screen. And, during this hour, they should be engaged with high-quality programs and educational tools. The AAP states that too much screen time for infants and toddlers can lead to problems with keeping a healthy sleep schedule, displacement in physical activity, and deterioration of face-to-face interaction which is crucial to social development. By taking away time in front of a screen and encouraging children to play outside, parents can instill a healthy balance and avert the negative effects of too much screen time.
Of course, while it’s great for children to play outside, they also require some safety measures to do so. First, especially during the hotter months of the year, it’s important to keep children safe from disease-carrying insects like mosquitoes. To do so, simply apply a child’s safe bug repellent before outdoor activity to your child’s skin. Secondly, parents and teachers should always take the weather into account. If it’s cold, children need to dress appropriately before going outdoors. Likewise, if it’s hot and humid outside, children will require sunscreen and other methods of protection from harmful UV rays. Finally, children should be taught safety around water like pools, lakes, and ponds. Teach your child never to go in water unsupervised.
Here at Ivy Prep Early Learning Academy, we understand the importance of children playing outdoors. And, at our locations, encourage children to run, play, and utilize their imaginations each and every day. If you’re looking for a new early learning facility for your child or children, contact us today to schedule a visit at one of our locations nearest you.