Playing Outdoors Can be Helpful for Children’s Growth | Says A Harvard Study

There were times when keeping kids indoors was such a hard task. Something which would usually become a tug of war between parents and children. Consequently in which sometimes children would make their parents succumb to their wishes and other times parents would. That was the reality of times some two decades back. Because children of that time never wanted to stay inside. To such an extent that parents would have to drag their children after the night would start casting its shadows.  With times changing and environments evolving so rapidly, the nature of children has changed too. What has seemingly played the biggest part in the evolvement of such a rapid change in children’s mindset is of ‘technology’.

The Pros And Cons of Using Technology

Now, technology isn’t that bad if we see the good changes which it has brought to our society. In fact, in this age, owning technology has become mandatory. If you don’t own one then you cannot keep yourself with the ever-so-rapidly changing technological era. Two decades back, no one would have thought of such change. And two decades now, the change of tech has been accepted in such a whole-heartedly manner that it seems tech was here centuries ago. Not a single person can live without technological devices. Not even today’s children.

While the use of electronic devices or technology has so many pros, it is essential to highlight some of its cons too. Before we proceed with our article next, here are some of our earlier posts on tech too. One of which discusses how excessive use of electronic devices during cooking can cause contamination. On the contrary, this one post discusses that how excessive exposure to blue light can result in having a disruptive sleep. We encourage you reading both these articles before you proceed further. After you are done reading both these posts, start reading this article ahead!

Children Playing Outside Vs. Inside

Indoor games are not bad. However,  it’s necessary that your children get enough outside exposure too. If they are not playing much outside then it is essential that they do. Because if they are not then your children are missing a big deal.

Here’s this Harvard study which exposes the six major benefits which every child reaps because of playing outdoors.

1. Getting Enough Sunshine Exposure

As much as the high sun exposure can lead an individual towards sun burns and eventually towards the skin cancer, the sunshine exposure is still necessary for the skin. Because it helps in fulfilling the need of Vitamin-D.

Importance of Vitamin-D

Vitamin-D plays an important role and part in the body processes. Some of which include:

  • In the development of bones.
  • In Improvising Our Immune System.

Not only that sun exposure helps in getting Vitamin-D, but it also helps in:

  • Undisturbed and better sleep.
  • Pleasant Mood

Having an undisturbed sleep will eventually lead a juvenile towards good mood. Sun exposure also helps in different ways- like, the bodies function in their best form when they receive enough sunlight. That’s the number one reason why children should play outside.

2. Outside Plays Can Act as an Exercise

When children play outside then not only that they get sunshine, in fact, they get enough time for putting their muscles to some work too. While children can for sure exercise indoors. According to Harvard’s study, it is better that they go outside and play. In playing, they won’t only be exercising; but, in fact, would enjoy their time too. This will not make them feel tiresome or boring even for the slightest of the moment. Playing with balls or sending them on bikes are good options.

3. Outdoor Activities are Helpful in Demonstrating Executive Functions

Executive functions are essential for personal as well as the professional growth of the children in the later life. Executive functions are those functions which help a person in executing certain tasks. Execution of certain tasks require some essential cognitive skills. The cognitive skills which help in having a behavioral control. The same cognitive skills help us in making us more creative such as improvising one’s imagination which eventually helps in the entertaining ourselves. Thus, having outdoor activities will enhance all such cognitive functioning.

4. Allowing Children to Take Risks

Outdoor plays help children in taking risks. Being parents, it’s hard to see our children unsafe or even ashamed, embarrassed or humiliated from one reason or another. While as parents all of these are justified, for a child who is still in a learning phase then this cannot be justified. Because our helicopter parenting can actually keep the child away from learning. The learning which is extremely important for his own good. Because if your child doesn’t know the pain of breaking an arm or of being rejected then how is he going to survive in the world? That’s why when you child will go outside then he can actually learn all these skills on his own without you having to teach them.

5. Getting Socialized With Other Children

Socialization comes with time and this requires children to go out and play on their own. To learn to interact, they need to go outside. In order to know how a team work happens or how can they meet new people or make friends, this all needs socialization which needs them to be outside. While, these skills can be learnt in schools or sports too, however, to acquire the essence of the socialization actually needs some activities other than school or sports activities.

6. Outdoor Plays Will Allow Your Children to Appreciate the Nature

With the kind of change which we are seeing nowadays, then in such an environment it’s hard to make our children appreciative of things which can only be felt. Not only this, in fact, for inculcating a trait like gratefulness in our children, it is necessary that we make them appreciative of nature. If they haven’t experienced the sailing on a river, or may be, if they haven’t done hiking on mountains or went through the woods or playing in the mud or soil then they haven’t experienced the real fun yet. In our age, technology has become the integral part and thus no one actually tries to focus on the things which they are missing on. Go out with your kids and make them ponder over the marvels of nature. If you can’t accompany them then at least allow them to go alone. This will make them grateful persons all in all and in general too. Kids won’t understand the importance of these unless we make them learn. This is where the responsibility of the parents lie.


We hope that the above reasons were motivating enough to make you think and ponder if your kids are spending enough time outside. Also, if they are not yet then better make them start now. So that they don’t miss out on these amazing lessons which they can learn just by spending some alone time outdoors or may be by playing with others. Don’t make them too clingy upon the gadgets or other tech-stuff. Allow them to go out, make friends, explore nature. And give them the chance of discovering their own selves by spending some time out.




Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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