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Longer Summer Days Have More Benefits For Kids Than You Think

Most of us are home for the summer, and kids are enjoying limitless time outside –perhaps more than they ever have before. This has turned out to be a little blessing in disguise, as there are so many health benefits associated with increased time in the great outdoors.

There's no greater fun for kids than to experience the freedom of being able to enjoy the summer under the sun. Having more space to play and being able to express themselves more freely does wonders for kids. The benefits are far better than being cooped up indoors and told 'not to make so much noise.' The ability for children to be creative, active, and soak in some vitamin D is so beneficial to their healthy development, physically and otherwise.

Aside from the physical benefits, time spent outdoors can help children on an emotional and psychological level as well. Parenting Science reveals that,

"Nature walks trigger short-term improvements in mood and stress recovery, and there is evidence showing that kids become more attentive and focused after playing in natural settings."

Increased Immunity
It goes without saying, but we'll say it anyway... fresh air is vital for the overall health of all humans not just the little ones! We can all benefit from increased time outdoors, and the physical change is felt almost immediately. Just taking a few steps out the front door will encourage someone to breathe more deeply, helping them to instantly relax. This isn't 'just a feeling' though, this is proven science. According to Sanford Health,

"Outdoor light stimulates the pineal gland. This part of the brain is vital in keeping our immune system strong and making us feel happier."

If something as simple as spending time outdoors is so beneficial to the health of our children, this is something to which we should be paying close attention –given the pandemic we are all facing. Building up the immunity of our children leads to a stronger, healthier, happier future for them as they continue to grow and develop.

Using All Their Senses
Children spend much of their youth being told what to do and when to do it. During their school days, there are limitations on their physical activity time and increased pressure to perform their academic duties with focus. There aren't many opportunities for kids to grow and expand all their senses within such a structured day. Life indoors seems to be a series of tasks that children need to plug into in order to be rewarded in some way.

Outdoor play encourages kids to expand their horizons and adapt to their surroundings. If they become too hot, they learn to move into the shade; they become more aware of the bugs, flies, and birds around them. It teaches them to self regulate, to be attentive, and to enjoy the natural aspects of their environment. Playing outside means smelling the fresh cut grass and learning in ways that involve more positive stimulation than when they are inside watching television or playing video games.

Increased Physical Exercise & Awareness
Playing outdoors means getting to enjoy the benefits of moving through larger spaces. Throwing the ball, running after the dog, climbing equipment at the playground, and riding bikes are prime examples of the physical exercise that children can engage in when they're able to enjoy increased time outdoors.

Sanford Health reveals,

"Studies show children burn more calories outdoors, helping to prevent obesity and strengthen bones and muscles. Playing in the sun builds vitamin D in the body, which means stronger bones and less likelihood of chronic diseases."

The increased space of the great outdoors promotes movement, demonstrates fewer space confines, and results in natural encounters that teach socialization skills, such as running into a neighbor and starting a conversation or learning how to safely cross the street.

Getting Tired Enough To Sleep Well
It's clear to see that engaging in activities outside is highly beneficial for children on so many levels. The best part is, after all of this time using all of their senses, increasing their physical activity and soaking up some vitamin D by playing in the sun, children will undoubtedly get tired. They will tire themselves out and will be less argumentative about their bedtime routine. Chances are children who have had a day full of play and a physically demanding outdoor experience are more likely to fall asleep faster, giving parents a little break to catch up on some much needed rest as well.

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