Activities are bigger and bolder outside. Playing hide-and-seek is just louder outside, it just is, don’t ask me why. Playing hide-and-seek outside involves more running, more screaming, and therefore, more fun. Anything that is fun is likely to be continued longer than something that is only mediocre fun…and something as thrilling and physical as hide-and-seek should not only be fun, but also exhilarating. Not to mention that the risk of broken furniture and bruised body parts is slim to none in the great outdoors. Playing outside is good for our bodies, but it also does a world of wonder for our houses, as long as we remember to take off those mud-caked sneakers before walking through the house.
Many children today are unafraid of the monsters in their video games while being deathly afraid of their bikes. This has got to change! Firstly, because learning to ride a bike will, indeed, involve a few falls (although they’re worth it in the end), but it’s also intensely satisfying (do you remember that first ride without training wheels and without your Dad running behind you holding the seat, preventing you from falling?). All kids should have this experience and satisfaction. Additionally, bike riding is good for your body. Kids don’t have to become stellar athletes or face enormous pressure from soccer coaches starting at the age of seven, but their bodies should be in motion. To do this, they simply must get out of the house.
You can encourage them to go outside by doing a few things. Outdoor kids are frequently the children of outdoor parents. If you are truly not an outdoor parent, make an effort to find an activity or two that you do enjoy and make that your outside time. Outdoor kids are much healthier than indoor kids. Again, they don’t have to be athletes, but they should run for their lives once or twice a day while playing tag and they should run, laughing, through a sprinkler in summer. These things don’t require a lot of time or money, just a little creativity and a little encouragement.
Outdoor kids have more color to their complexion (put sunscreen on them—the color should be from exercise, not sunburn), less fat, more muscles, and more endorphins. Many parents know that encouraging their children to spend time outdoors will enhance their physical condition, but many ignore the impact that it will have on their mental/spiritual outlook. Outdoor kids laugh harder and louder than kids who stay indoors all the time. Outdoor kids also socialize more and are more likely to have the courage to make new friends and to try new situations.
In short, playing outside is good for all aspects of the human body, be it adult or child--and good habits form early. Just like you encourage your kids to eat healthily (it’s easier to never start drinking cola than it is to stop drinking it once you’re hooked), encourage them to go outside and play. Every so often, get yourself out there with the kids; they’ll enjoy it, and so will you.