NEW CASTLE – Sending children outside to play may not only be healthier for them physically, but it may be better for them psychologically too. A recent BBC study found that, children who play outside laugh more.
They say that laughter is the best medicine and this may hold true for kids, too. Not only is laughter a stress reliever, but the physical movements involved with laughing gives the heart and lungs a workout.
Laughter also stimulates the immune system to fight off colds and viruses that children are so susceptible too. If playing outside causes children to laugh more – it’s something they need more of.
Children playing outside experience other health benefits as well. They’re more likely to be adventurous and open to new experiences than a child who lives life parked in front of the television set. Outdoor play fuels the imagination of children and teaches them how to be resourceful. It also brings them closer to nature.
Of course, there are also the more obvious health benefits of playing outside such as positive benefits on the heart and a reduction in the risk of certain diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Running and jumping builds stronger bones and muscles.
The best source of vitamin D is the sun and when a child spends all his time indoors, his risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency is high – which could lead to health problems later in life.
Obviously, the benefits of playing outside are many; but the sad reality is that the time kids spend outdoors has dropped significantly over the past few decades. Now kids spend their time with electronic games, wii, playstation, iPads etc. and that lost time can never be replaced.
Isn’t it time to cut off the television set and give your child a chance to explore the great outdoors? Once you do, listen hard – and don’t be surprised if you hear the sound of laughter.
We at the Craig County Child Care Center want to also recognize the greatly appreciated volunteers that spread the mulch on our playground on April 22 and 23. Your energy, since of volunteerism, and kindness serve as an example all of Craig County can appreciate and hopefully replicate. Thank you Roy Taylor, Tommy Zimmerman, Jim Holtman, Paul Beaudoin and Dickie Ponton. We hope to pass along your example of community giving!
– By Teresa Oliver, director, Craig County Child Care Center