Here’s Why You Should Always Say Yes to Letting Your Kids Play Outside

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Yes, parents – even when it’s super hot, even when it’s raining a bit, and even when you’re freezing your baguettes off, your kids deserve some play time in the great outdoors.

Experts have found that it helps improve eyesight, reduces stress, supports creativity, boosts problem-solving skills, and provides more benefits we’ll probably never really understand.


Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist, explains further:

“We are learning there are endless benefits to playing outdoors. One of the greatest is the sensory benefits when children spend time outdoors from a very early age. When you step outdoors, multiple senses are engaged. More synapses are firing in the brain. The child’s chances for sensory integration (organization of the senses) are higher when in nature. This organization of the brain lays the foundation for learning later in life. The first seven years are critical for neuro-development. Therefore, getting little ones outdoors from infancy on should be a top priority for families.”

There’s nothing wrong with encouraging indoor playtime, like reading, building with blocks, or even using a computer, but Hanscom believes that learning how and when to urge your littles out into the fresh air is a skill every single parent needs to hone.


“There are multiple things that families can do to encourage children to get outdoors. One would be to limit the amount of screen time children get. Maybe this is a treat — not something children have access to every single day. There really isn’t a need for especially younger children to be on electronics. You can also invite friends over for the day. Having children to play with outdoors often helps with inspiration of new ways to play. Consider putting out materials like scrap wood, tires, blankets, and pots and pans to inspire children to build forts, play house, etc. We tend to have too many toys for children. By giving them simple ordinary (and just a few) materials that can be used for multiple purposes, we are setting them up to play in new and creative ways.”

And the cold is more of a deterrent for you than it is for them, she reminds us.


“Children still need frequent opportunities for movement and sensory rich play experiences that challenge and foster healthy growth, even in colder months. How do we do this? We make sure our children are dressed in layers to make sure they are comfortable and able to last in the cooler weather.”

My kids are so little that they’re not allowed outside alone, so this will be a lot of work for me to implement. For those of you with more independent kiddos, though, throwing them outside for a few hours a day might turn into something of a break for you, too!