Tag Archives: outdoor play

Outdoor Play in Fresh Air & Sunshine: Gotta love it!

Outdoor play

It used to be that when the weather turned nice, you’d see all the neighborhood kids playing outside. They’d be jumping rope, riding bikes, kicking balls, and flying kites. They’d be hopping, skipping, running, leaping, and sliding. Everyone was happy and the world seemed right.

Today, you’ll still see kids playing on nice days. But unfortunately, most of them will probably be indoors — “playing” on their computers, TVs, and handheld game consoles. Sheesh! What’s this world coming to?

It’s finally time for parents to realize just how important it is for their kids to get fresh air and sunshine during outdoor play. Specific health benefits include:

  • Increased oxygen levels. The efficiency of almost all our body systems depends on high oxygen levels, which have also been linked to lower cancer risk. That’s precisely why fresh air is key.
  • Vitamin D absorption. Sunlight produces vitamin D, which encourages the absorption of calcium, which kids’ bodies need to develop strong bones and teeth. (Rickets is an example of extreme vitamin D deficiency in children.) Just be sure to apply adequate sunscreen protection.
  • Reduced vulnerability to infections. Fresh air and exercise help stave off infections, colds, and the flu by strengthening the immune system and by enabling the infectious agents to spread out and be dissipated.
  • Increased fitness. American children are becoming increasingly obese, caused in large part to a sedentary lifestyle. Counter this alarming epidemic by getting your kids to exercise in fresh air to increase both their physical activity and their cardiovascular endurance. Doctors suggest an hour of play a day in an effort to ward off childhood obesity and diabetes.
  • Reduced stress. Playing outside and connecting with nature helps to reduce worries, depression, and hyperactivity. Fresh air indisputably provides an important component to soothing, mind-body wellness.
  • Better breathing. Regular exercise in fresh air helps increase lung capacity, improve respiratory efficiency, and provide cleaner air for your children’s lungs. Other benefits include improved breathing technique, which in turn causes better stamina and increased energy.
  • Improved eyesight. Recent studies have found that children who play outdoors are less likely to be nearsighted or need eyeglasses.
  • A longer lifespan. The alarming fact is that doctors now estimate sedentary and obese children will lose 3-5 years from their life expectancy. Ensure that your children will grow to become healthy adults by getting them out to play now as children.

 

Besides these health benefits, outdoor play in fresh air and sunshine also supports:

  • Greater socialization. When playing outdoors, children usually get less direction from adults, enabling them to gain greater skills in negotiation, cooperation, exploration, risk-taking, and compromise. They also have more opportunities to gain independence and self-confidence, too.
  • Longer attention spans. Kids who continuously play with fast-paced TV and video games have much less patience and much shorter attention spans than kids who play outdoors and take a greater interest in their natural surroundings.
  • More creativity. The opportunity for children to use their imagination, become more resourceful, develop greater inventiveness, and expand their creativity is much greater when kids play outdoors.
  • Less aggression. When kids spend more time outdoors and less time witnessing the violence so prevalent on TV and in video games nowadays, they begin to see more clearly that violent behavior simply does not solve problems.
  • Better grades. When children become healthier in both body and mind, they tend to perform better in school as well.

The importance of outdoor play simply cannot be overemphasized. The benefits are many and the rewards even greater. So turn off the electronics and tell your kids to go out and play. You’ll be doing them a favor. A huge favor at that!

Suggested adult reading about outdoor play:

Healthy, Active and Outside!: Running an Outdoors Programme in the Early Years
Go Out and Play!: Favorite Outdoor Games from KaBOOM!
Nature and Young Children: Encouraging Creative Play and Learning in Natural Environments
Little Book of Outdoor Play
The Outside Play and Learning Book: Activities for Young Children

This post was written by Creative Play Plus contributor Maria Isabella. Maria is a mother, grandmother, published author, and award-winning writer with over 30 years’ experience in the advertising, marketing, and publishing industries.

This weekend: $2.99 Shipping on Select Outdoor Play + Additional 10% off Select Items

Outdoor Sale

Temperatures are starting to rise and it looks like spring is coming early this year. To kick off the season of outdoor play, we are running a $2.99 shipping sale now through Monday, March 5.* The following outdoor play items are shipping for $2.99 (up to a $27 savings):

 

In addition to the $2.99 shipping sale, the following items are 10% off with code S2ADVEXT

 

We also offer flexible payment options now including PayPal and BillMeLater (on order over $199).

Also on sale through Monday, March 5 is the Fun Fold Jr. Picnic Table. Take 15% off with code S2FF15 making it just $50.99 + $2.99 shipping.

*No promo code necessary for $2.99 shipping. Regular shipping prices resume at 12:00 AM ET March 6, 2012. Valid on US shipments only (to the 48 contiguous states).

Bring Summer Fun Indoors This Winter

If you live in a part of the country that limits outdoor play during the winter months, there are still ways to utilize your outdoor toys indoors during the frigid months.

Customer submitted photo of her kids playing on the Big Folding Slide indoors

Try these fun tips from other parents:*

  • Move your sandbox indoors and fill it with dried beans
  • Turn your living room into a playground with an indoor/outdoor friendly fold-up slide
  • Set up a picnic table in the kitchen for kid-friendly seating during family events
  • Take a roller coaster ride through the family room
  • Play mini-golf indoors
  • Set up a small climber in your child’s bedroom. One mom said by doing this, her son “loves to put his toys on the platform and throw them down the slide as well as climb up and down the slide.”

Check out additional ideas for indoor fun at The Stir, a cafemom blog.

*Step2 recommends adult supervision with the use of these toys.

*Disclaimer: The Step2 Company LLC does not promote or condone the use of our products in ways other than the original intent. This blog was solely written for the purpose to encourage creativity during the winter months. Please refer to the instruction sheets for all Step2 products for the appropriate age, weight, and height limitations.