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Let’s Take It Outdoors

Remember when you used to spend hours playing badminton with the kid next door, or when you got caught up in playing and got into trouble for coming home a little late? Aaaah, the good old days! Can our kids today have the kind of fun we had when we were young? Well, with a little effort on our part, yes, they can!

In the last two decades, most children have shifted their playtime from the great outdoors to the safety of indoors as it is estimated that children today spend less than 30 minutes of their time at the local playground every day, if they do at all! In contrast, over seven hours of each day is dedicated to gazing into an electronic gadget or looking into the computer screen.

The profound effects of inactivity can be seen in the raising rate of obesity, increase consumption of ADHD medication and pediatric prescriptions for antidepressants. Without the chance to sweat, run, climb, skip and jump, children may become out of shape, tuned out and stressed out.

One surefire way to reverse this is by simply letting them reconnect to the natural environment of the great outdoors.

Benefits for the body

Statistically, an obese child who regularly spends time playing outdoors will have more than a 30% higher chance of getting fit over time. Spending time outside raises the levels of Vitamin D in a child’s body, which protects them from developing future bone problems, nearsightedness, heart disease and diabetes, among other health issues.

Nourishes the mind

Exposure to fresh air and natural environments are believed to be helpful in combating symptoms of ADHD. They may also help a child perform better in standardized tests in math, reading, listening and writing. Children who play outdoors often also tend to rank higher on their critical thinking skills.

Lifts up the spirit

Like adults who go for jogs around the neighborhood, children also report lower stress levels immediately after playing outside. Exercise coupled with fresh air helps in a child’s emotional development, thereby making them more enjoyable to be with.

Outdoor family time — Try it!

Get the entire family out for a stroll before dinnertime. It’s a great way to teach them to appreciate the precious things in life, like the sunset, listening to birds chirping or simply having a heart-to-heart talk with them.


Get your children to help you dig, weed and water the plants in the garden. Watching their hard work grow and flourish is sure to bring awe and delight to kids, plus you could also grow edible plants that you can cook in the kitchen for a healthier diet.

As long as it’s outdoors

When in doubt, you can always opt for ball games such basketball or soccer. Badminton is also a great sport as it only requires a minimum of two players. If your child dislikes sports, you could try playing card games or board games like chess outdoors at a picnic table instead.

What parents should know

Fact #1: Children are now spending half as much time outdoors as they did 20 years ago!

Fact #2: Only 6% of children between the ages of 9 to 13 play outside on their own in a typical week.

Fact #3: Studies show that children who play outside are more physically active, more creative in their play, less aggressive and show better concentration.

Fact #4: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children require sixty minutes of daily unstructured free play every day for physical and mental health.

12 Popular Outdoor Toys for Children

Do your kids tend to stay indoors? Encourage them to spend time outside with these popular toys:

  1. Trampoline
  2. Swing set
  3. Tree house / Outdoor play house
  4. Frisbee
  5. Inflatable swimming pool
  6. Mini golf set for kids
  7. Roller-skates
  8. Skateboard
  9. Basketball and hoop
  10. Badminton set
  11. Soccer ball and goalpost
  12. Bicycle / Tricycle

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