Smart Kids– Every parent wishes to raise smart kids. No exceptions in that. But there are few things some parents do differently that gives them a good shot at raising smarter kids.
When I say the word “childhood”. What is that one thing that you remember very fondly? For most of us it would be the time we played. Because, we played till the cows came home and play after that too.
We begged our parents for more time, played deaf to their dinner calls and play and played on.
What did we play? When we think of it, we draw a blank.
We just played. We had no agenda or no rules. No ulterior motive. just played for fun and for the pure joy of playing.
We played outdoors…
- Outdoor play – Introduction
- Statistics on children’s outdoor play
- Importance of Playing Outdoor for Smart Kids
- Physical benefits for your child
- Mental Benefits your child will get
- How raise smart kids?
- Outdoor game ideas for different age group
- Note to Parents – Idea to motivate kids to play outside
Outdoor play to raise Smart Kids – Introduction
Outdoor play is a type of play that is played outdoors. And it is away from the comfort of your indoors. Away from screen time away from depending on adults to entertain kids. Outdoor play is a free spontaneous play that is played independently or with other children. It is not controlled or directed by an adult. However adult supervision is recommended.
Outdoor play is usually encouraged during daylight. This is to avoid the dangers of the night that includes trip and fall hazards due to low light.
Statistics on children’s outdoor play
- A UK study commissioned by the National Trust found that children spend half less the time playing outside. This is in comparison to what their parents did at their age.
- Kids these days spend only around 10 minutes a day going out and playing outdoors. But they spend around 5 hours per day either on television or using electronic gadgets.
- A study done by the UK government study has found that around 10% of their respondents have not been out for almost a year. They have not even gone for a stroll outside in a natural environment such as a park, or beach.
- A study by Seattle Children’s Research Institute appearing in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, states that, on average, adolescent children spend a little over 10 hours a day being relatively motionless. They spend a little less than 13 mins a day children on vigorous outdoor activity.
- National studies of American elementary school kids state that, elementary school children spend only around 10 minutes a day going out and playing outdoors. They however spend around 5 hours per day either on television or using electronic gadgets.
These statistics only prove what we already intuitively know that we are raising a generation of sedentary kids. Kids who prefer to sit and watch television or play video games than venture outside and play.
Importance of Playing Outdoor for Smart Kids
Kids love playing. It is fun to play. At the same time, it is essential for healthy growth and development of the kid’s mind and body.
And outdoor play must be a crucial part of these early development years during a kid’s life.
Playing outside gives your child the prospect to explore the natural environment and have adventures.
When the child engages in games the child tests his/ her physical limits, express him/herself, and there by builds his/her self-confidence.
When your child is outside, he probably has more room and freedom for large movements, like running, jumping, kicking, and throwing. These activities are also good for your child’s physical development and have a healthy body.
For the healthy development of kids, playing outdoor is simply as important and it should be an integral part of a kid’s life.
Playing outdoor can help the kids to enhance their intellectual and cognitive development.
Outdoor play provides the kids with an endless opportunity for exploration and discovery.
Kids interact with nature. Children learn in through smell, sight, and sound of things that are around them present within the surrounding environment.
Outdoor play helps enhance creative skills.
It offers the kids an excellent opportunity to explore the environment around them, investigate the environment, and develops their curious minds.
Physical benefits of Spending time outside
Research has shown that kids are twice as active when they are playing outside.
Every additional 10 minutes spent outdoors resulted in almost 3 extra minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (Tandon et al 2018).
There are numerous physical benefits of playing outside.
Playing outside on playground equipment or just climbing trees or running around helps kids develop motor-skills and spatial awareness.
With more room to play in, children are often more active when outside, which helps them to create strong bones and good fitness levels.
This activity also enables them to burn off extra energy and calories and there by decreases risk of obesity.
Being active outside and playing decrease the risk of developing medical conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol or/ and blood pressure which are associated with sedentary lifestyle or one with less activity.
Some researchers have pointed to Depression, anxiety are some effects of lack of outdoor playtime.
As well as this, being within the sunshine, even in winter, means children naturally absorb vital vitamin D, an absence of which may cause Rickets. Also, vitamin D, is proven to assist improve moods and make a positive attitude.
Exposure to bright light outdoors leads to pupil restriction which helps in training muscles and increase farsightedness. This lowers the chances of your child developing myopia, nearsightedness.
Giving children the liberty of playing outdoor helps them to feel happier and calmer.
When kids are exposed to some dirt, pollen, and insects it helps in boosting children’s immunity and this might help to reduce their risk of developing allergies.
When children play outside, they spend all their excess energy outside and this helps in reducing hyperactivity.
Mental well-being Benefits of spending time outside
By Playing outside children get a great boost to mental acuity.
Research shows that children who play outside are a bit less risker to develop learning disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than children who are always indoors.
Research shows that exposure to natural sunlight helps in lower anxiety levels and there by reduces stress.
When kids get exposed to sunlight it helps the body increase dopamine levels.
Endo-morphine which is called “feel-good” hormones are released when physical activity increases. This helps in mood elevation from a sad and sulking one to a vibrant and happy one. No wonder kids are joyful and happy when they spend time outside.
The physical activity such as exploration and trying new things provides kids with a sense of positivity and hope.
Happy kids are generally better learners. Better learners are smarter kids.
How to make your kid smart
There are numerous ways by which a child can benefits by going outside to play every day. We have given above a few of them.
The statistics given above shows very clearly that children these days spend less and less time to play outside. On an average our child spends only approximately 30 minutes in a day playing outside.
By simple logic, to raise a smart kid, you need to let you kid play regularly at least an hour a day. This helps your kid better when the rest of the kids sit inside and not engage in outdoor play.
It is proven that kids who have less time for outdoor play carry the risk of slower social development. Decrease in cognitive skills, and increase in personal stress levels.
Outdoor play helps children learn how to socialize, develop curiosity, empathy and become inquisitive about the world around them.
The more time your child spends outside freely playing the more they learn to improvise and use resources around them this builds them to be street smarts.
A regular visit also improves memory and increases classroom attention span by 20%.
The kids who plays outside more often faster on their feet as compare to kids who have a sedentary lifestyle.
Kids who remain indoors miss out on all this fun, learning and development. While at the same time children who spend time outdoors every day can grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
When the kid reaps these benefits, it can make the kids smarter and help them to succeed at anything that they put their minds to.
Outdoor game ideas for Different age group:
If you have toddler at home, outdoor play for toddlers can be simple games that include actions like throwing, chasing, pushing or pulling different toys and objects, walking, running or jumping, Chasing butterflies or bubbles, playing with sand, jumping into a puddle; playing with dried leaves are good outdoor games that will help them develop their skills.
If you have preschooler at home, outdoor play for preschooler can include simple games that can be played individually and with other children. They like to play games of fantasy, make believe or pretend play.
Some of the popular games of kids this age is, in the pond- out the pond, run and catch, hide, and seek, Tag. They are also suckers for obstacle course games that include hoping, climbing, crawling etc…
They like playing in mud and dirt and loose part play with day to day household items. making mud pies with dirt and old cooking utensils.
A nature walk with them will get you to have a running commentary of all that they see and spot or hear. Will be a good activity or engage with them and improve their vocabulary while they positively engage with the environment.
If you have school age child at home, outdoor play for school age children are as follows…
School-age children’s skills have evolved and can engage in more structured play, like sport. While they can be enrolled for such activity it is equally important that they are also give free time to play outside.
Some of the activities they enjoy are …advance obstacle course, role playing, building sandcastle, playing hop, climbing trees etc…
Note to Parents:
Outdoor play is a crucial part of childhood life. This is one of the most important element you need to provide to your kid if you wish to raise a smart kid.
It is exciting to watch children in their natural environment. They help and motivate your children to explore, experiment, and build-up the interactions between the people and the same age of Kids.
Playing outdoor games can provide physical and mental benefits that textbooks cannot give. Outdoor play teaches a lot of life lessons such as experience winning or losing, picking up after them self and move forward etc all these make them physically and mentally strong.
Studies have shown that children can learn tons from playing outdoors, from improved spatial recognition to easily understanding environmental tendencies. Simple activities like seeing leaves change, running, and jumping in rain puddles, or watching the flowers sprout during the spring, can make such an excellent difference.
Spending time outside, even in a city environment amidst a concrete jungle, allows your kids to form a reference to nature. There could also be trees to climb, birds to feed, ants to watch, and therefore the sky and its changing cloud patterns and weather to observe.
While there can be various reasons like school hours, academic activities and hobbies classes, parents ‘fear of children interacting with strangers”, Less outdoor space, or safety concerns or the most fundamental of all that the kid prefers indoors watching/ playing with electronic gadgets etc.. that can prevent kids from going outside and playing…
Whatever the reason may be, long story short our kids are not getting enough time to be with nature and breathe in fresh air.
The responsibility lies on parents to encourage them to play outside. The benefits the kids will reap will be immense and worth the nudge and effort.
Tips to motivate kids to play outside:
We have outlined below few tips to motivate your kid to play outside. thereby getting all the benefits needs to be a smart kid.
There are many games that can be played outside. Some old games and a few new games.
Games like Hide and seek, Tag, Volleyball, Cricket, badminton, and football are extremely popular outdoor games for children.
But if you are feeling inspired to undertake something different in your own outdoor play area? Begin with a little idea first then build from there. Create and work with what you have already got available.
There is no pressure to make something almost like those popular games mentioned above. Just take a couple of ideas you wish and modify to fit your space, budget, and skills. Your kids will love it. They will be thankful to you for whatever you create especially when you involve them in the process as well!
We at the Yellow playschool understand this. We ensure that more than 30% of the school time is spent on outdoor activities. This not only helps our kids make memories and have fun but also help them enjoy while learning.
Do your kids play outside? How long do they play outside in a day?