The great outdoors are full of adventure and wonder, especially for kids. Taking them outside to play is a great way to get some fresh air and let their imaginations run wild.

While some sun is good for your kids, the wide variety of things to do outside also offers numerous benefits to your child’s physical and mental growth. Of course, it’s also just fun to go out and play, even as adults.

Encourages Imaginative Play

Without a screen to show children what to visualize, they’re left to their own imaginations. Maybe they see a fence as a castle wall or a tree as a large dragon. Pretend or imaginative play have been shown to boost cognitive skills, creativity and self-regulation capacity. Adding some toys to the mix gives them even more room to be creative.

Explore Their Senses

Playing outside stimulates all the senses. By seeing, smelling, touching and hearing their environment, they’re able to exercise their senses. The more kids play outside, the more acute those senses can become.

Encourages Physical Play

Most forms of outdoor play involve kids being physical. This helps work their gross motor skills. They become better at walking, running, jumping and other forms of movement. They also work on their coordination and balance. These aren’t skills kids are able to easily work when sitting inside.

Improves Social Skills And Confidence

Whenever possible, encourage kids to play together outside. If that’s not possible, go outside and play with your child. Playing outside means a less structured environment. Kids are able to explore their imagination, learn new skills and learn how to play with others. It’s also a good way to allow them to lead during play. As a result, they learn valuable social skills and their confidence is boosted as they take charge outdoors.

Learn About The Environment

Despite the plethora of nature shows, nothing is quite as amazing as experiencing the outdoors firsthand. Even just taking your child for a walk through a park is a learning opportunity. Take along a bird watching guide or local plant guide for you and kids to identify different animals and plants. Kids are naturally curious, so they’ll be full of questions. This gives them a chance to learn about their surroundings in a way they couldn’t learn just by watching TV or playing with their mobile devices.

Playing outdoors is fun. While backyards might be smaller than they used to be for many, it’s still an experience every kid should have as often as possible. It’s not just enjoyable, but beneficial to their mental and physical health.