SELECTED ARTICLE
Author
Romain Levesque 
Article Title
The Benefits of Out Door Play 
Posted Date
12/17/2006 

Well, we know sitting in front of video games and TV is not health beneficial. Being out doors helps our children to become creative. It is also known that children sleep better when they have played outdoors. My own children spent hours outdoors, and though they came in filthy ninety percent of the time, they were so exhausted they would fall asleep before bed bath. I did not mind the dirt on them nor did my wife; it meant to us, that our children had a great time.

The benefits of outdoor play are physical and mental. Physically we know the benefits: strength, endurance, and coordination. Physical activity: mats, balls, riding toys, etc. Playing outside is a valuable activity for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers because of the many ways it promotes their development. Babies, toddlers and preschoolers are sensory-motor learners. Besides all the health benefits, playing outside stretches children's thinking and knowledge. Children need coordination; they need a chance to practice their basic physical skills. Outdoor play time also allows children to move freely and make noise - forms of self-expression that are often restricted indoors.

Too often these days we are afraid to allow our children to play outside. There are so many dangers waiting around every corner, but I say to you: make groups, get a bunch of kids together and make games with them, or for them, or just be close by to make sure no injuries occur. I know as a working parent, it is very hard to make sure your kids get outside daily. If neighbors could come together and each take one day a week to encourage the children in your neighborhood to play together. Each parent taking turns on the different days of the week. Before long you will have very busy kids, not to mention free time for the separate parents, whose turn it is not.

Having kids go out and pick different leaves up to put in wax paper is a great way to get them outside and walking around. The children adore little art projects such as this. There are many benefits to outdoor play. It also gives our children a sense of adventure if they live near woods, always making sure they never enter extremely wooded areas alone.

Children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The study examined the relationship between children’s nature exposure through leisure activities and their attentional functioning using both within and between-subjects comparisons. Parents were surveyed regarding their child’s attentional functioning after activities in several settings. Results indicate that children function better than usual after activities in green settings and that the "greener" a child’s play area, the less severe his or her attention deficit symptoms. Thus, contact with nature may support attentional functioning in a population of children who desperately need attentional support. Besides all this, playing outdoors reduces stress in kids. Children express and work out emotional aspects of every day experiences through unstructured play.

Children allowed to play freely with peers learn skills for seeing things through another person’s perspective, cooperating, sharing, and solving problems. Children learn from motion. As adults, we know that we learn through doing; it is the same for children. Developing perceptual abilities might suffer when so many of their experiences are through media, computers, books and homework; the sense of smell, touch, and taste are wonderful ways to learn. Children, who are free to spend time out doors, gain courage in moving through the larger world. They should gain the ability to navigate their immediate surroundings safety, thus laying the foundation for the competence to eventually lead their own lives.

The world we live in today is increasingly complex, and a little scary, but the fact remains, our children need, as much as we did, the freedom to feel the wind on their cheek, the kiss of the sun, and engage in self-paced play. Ignoring the developmental functions of unstructured outdoor play denies children the opportunity to expand their imaginations beyond the constraints of the classroom.

References
The author of this article is Romain Levesque owner of the website http://www.outdoortoys.findurfuture.com A website designed to help people that are interested in outdoor toys for their kids get started. You may reprint this article on your website for content as long as the resource box with the link stays intact. 
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