The birds are singing. A whiff of freshly applied sunscreen as kids run by tingles your nose. The sweet sound of laughter echoes from every angle. The prickly green grass encompasses your barefoot toes. It’s summertime.
Some of our fondest memories are being outside during the summer months. The long days seemed endless. Yes, it gets hot. Yes, we get sweaty, but there is a certain importance to allowing our kids to roam free in the summertime. The value of fresh air is something we hold important as adults, but may be even more important for our children. According to the National Wildlife Federation the average American child spends 30 minutes or less outside each day yet seven or more hours in front of an electronic screen.
The outdoors can be beneficial for a variety of reasons. It’s time to put down the electronics and bask in the beauty of mother nature. Here are seven reasons to value the fresh air with your children:
7 Reasons to Get Fresh Air with the Kids
The outdoors caters to our imagination. You get to explore new ideas and places. Create inventive games. The outdoors provide endless opportunities that help to sculpt a child’s imagination.
2. Health Benefits
Fresh air equals a fresh mind. Getting outside offers a variety of health benefits. For one the sunshine boosts Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is having healthy calcium and phosphorous levels which are essential in building and maintaining strong bones. Just don’t forget the sunscreen! Even just 20 minutes of fresh air a day can reduce stress and improve overall health. Fresh air is good for the body, and in particular the brain. NPR journalist Jon Hamilton discusses how child’s play outside can help build the brain and teach your children valuable lessons:
- No Mess!
With lots of playtime indoors comes lots of clean up time as well. Time outside is good for the mind and also good for keeping mom’s living room clean. Enjoy some summer treats like watermelon or popsicles without the worry and frustration of making a mess that mom will have to clean up later.
- Change of Scenery
Yes we all love the time we get to spend relaxing on the couch and in the comfort of our homes, but there is beauty outside of our comfort zone as well. A change of scenery is good for the body and the mind. A nice hike or a quick dip in the pool can refresh the brain and release the stress we carry in our hectic world, plus your kid’s will love that valuable time spent with them in the fresh air.
With obesity rates increasing especially among our youth, fitness is something we should all ta
ke seriously. Like we mentioned before, even just 20 minutes a day can improve your overall health. Gyms get boring, especially with the same routine every day. Getting outside can provide a fun outlet to your static workout routines and also is a great way to keep your children healthy and active. Teaching your children the importance of a healthy lifestyle is a trait they can value and carry on into the rest of their lives. Jump rope, swim, gardening, walking, or kayaking – there is an endless amount of opportunity to keep you and your family fit while still having a lot of fun!
- Spirit & Soul
Have you ever walked outside after being cooped up on a long day, and felt immediately re-energize and overall better? It’s the magic of the outdoors. The sunshine can provide our bodies with energy and happiness. It actually releases endorphins that help to keep us happy and healthy. By incorporating the sunshine and fitness you’re participating in two activities that release endorphins. Good for the mind and body!
- Helps build a Strong Relationships
Whether you’re camping deep in the forest or taking a stroll around your neighborhood park, fresh air with your children can help build an even stronger connection. Without the distraction of technology, being outside leads to stronger conversation and appreciation for the little things.
Contributed by Emily-Jane Cosgrove
National Wildlife Foundation http://www.nwf.org/What-We-Do/Kids-and-Nature/Why-Get-Kids-Outside/Health-Benefits.aspx
NPR – Jon Hamilton “Science Says Child’s Play Helps Build a Stronger Brain”