Every generation winces when the previous one recalls how much better life was in their day. But one thing everyone remembers is playing outside as a child.
If current trends are anything to go by, however, outdoor play could soon be a thing of the past as modern children spend more and more time glued to TV and computer screens or playing indoors because their parents are worried for their safety.
This not only adds to our growing problem of obesity but also limits the developmental scope for children who, according to experts, need to spend time connecting with the outside world every day.
“Being outdoors for at least three hours per day is considered essential for growing children, according to many experts.”
“The benefits of outdoor play are multi-faceted and span the entire gambit of a child’s development; physical, mental, sensory and social,”
“Through play, children make sense of their world – infants and toddlers investigate and learn during this sensory motor stage of development.”
“This means they are learning through their senses and through movement. Outdoors, children’s senses are naturally stimulated through the ever-changing sights, sounds, smells, taste and touch of the world.”
“As their bodies and minds grow and develop, outdoors provides endless opportunities for new experiences which are unavailable inside.”
“Lack of physical activity is inextricably linked to obesity among young children.”
“Study found that 25 per cent of three-year-olds were overweight. Too much screen time is likely to be a contributing factor.”
“Inevitably, the more time children spend looking at screens the less time there is to engage in more traditional, outdoor forms of play,”
“They build up resilience through falling over or not achieving their goal right then and there. So in turn they learn perseverance.
“We don’t lift them onto a tree just because they can’t do it themselves. If they keep trying (which might take a couple of months), they will eventually achieve their goal and this is extremely empowering – achieving something themselves through hard work and perseverance is an essential life skill.”
“Nowadays children are so protected from harm that they rarely have to look at a situation and determine if it is safe and if not, decide how they can make it safe or should it be avoided – because all these decisions are made by an adult. But they should be able to self-risk assess for their own safety both now and in the future.”