The Australian Government’s Department of Health has released a report into the benefits of outside play for children and the reasons it makes our children healthier. It emphasises the reasons why we are so passionate about getting children back outside to play. We believe outdoor play experiences can be as effective as indoor play in stimulating young children’s development. It is known girls can be more assertive in their action-oriented play outdoors than they are in their dramatic play indoors. Little princesses can be very active and can keep up with the boys quite easily and this article sums up our beliefs perfectly. The article states “being physically active every day is important for the healthy growth and development of infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers and school age children”, and this sure rings true as kids who spend time outside in nature are known to be:
- Calmer – fresh air soothes the senses of all children.
- Happier – sunshine, fresh air and physical activity all encourage good moods
- Healthier – reduces Vitamin D deficiency, and kids who play outdoors more have better vision and less need for eyeglasses.
- Less likely to be overweight – an hour of play daily during childhood helps protect against obesity and diabetes.
- Better students – kids who play outdoors actually have longer attention spans, more frustration tolerance, and do better in school.
- More creative – as outdoor play is less structured than indoor activity kids exercise their imaginations as well as their bodies.
The guidelines in the article state that “toddlers (1 to 3 years) and pre-schoolers (3 to 5 years) should be physically active every day for at least three hours, spread throughout the day.” This is why we are passionate about encouraging your little princess to have outdoor time and why we have a huge range of our products to suit every age, skill, ability level and interest. The report further goes on to state “for health benefits, children aged 5–12 years should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day. To achieve additional health benefits, children should engage in more activity – up to several hours per day.” Let’s face it, kids need fresh air and exercise. We all do. Physical activity doesn’t mean athletics and organised sports, it can be as simple as getting outside and playing with a skipping rope or hula hoop; when kids are having fun they don’t even realise the health benefits, so it’s up to us as adults and caregivers to nurture and encourage this play.
If children are encouraged to be active when they are young by getting outside and playing, they won’t see it as a chore but as a daily, enjoyable part of life. Encourage outdoor play by setting up any outdoor space you have access to so that it’s inviting, and spend time outside with your child. A sandbox, wading pool, swing, climbing structure or garden will keep your child entertained for hours. But if permanent structures aren’t possible, think impermanent: A folding tepee, buckets, gardening tools to dig a hole you can later refill. This will set up a great routine for them and will translate into their teen and adult years, making an active lifestyle a natural progression for them.
In summary, the report alarming outlines that “only one-third of children, and one in ten young people undertook the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day”, be motivated to make a change today and get your little princess loving the outdoors.
Read the full report here – physical activity and sedentary behaviour