Bohemian Homeschoolers: The Blog

A supportive and encouraging network of homeschooling parents

The Importance of being Outdoors

on September 3, 2012

Greetings Homeschoolers!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!
It’s weekends like these that have us all planning fun filled time outdoors.  Be it the park, the beach, camping, or fishing…we all love to spend our long weekends outside.
Besides it being tons of fun, there are many other benefits to spending time in nature for the whole family, especially kids.
1.  Vitamin D.  The best source of Vitamin D is sunlight.  Vitamin D is important for a myriad of reasons…
-Helps the body absorb nutrients, including calcium and phosphorus.  Which means healthy bones and a strong immune system.
-Helps regulate blood pressure and improves cardiovascular strength.
-Helps reduce stress, tension, and fights depression
-Helps relieve aches and pains.
-Reduces respiratory infections.
-Aids in insulin secretion.
And this is just to name a few!  And honestly, that’s enough to get you outside!
2.  Outdoor play helps kids stay fit and healthy.  Plus with the aid in insulin secretion, it helps prevent diabetes, which has become an increasing common problem in children today.
3.  Helps prevent nearsightedness.  Kids need to be outdoors in order to develop their distance vision.  Being inside all day, either in front on the T.V. or even reading promotes nearsightedness in children.
4.  Aids in concentration and hyperactivity.  Children who spend long periods of time watching T.V. or playing video games have a tendency to be impatient and have shorter attention spans.
5.  Studies have shown that being out in nature makes you nicer, and in turn helps children in their social interactions.  So essentially making them better at making friends.
6.  Because kids are more likely to use their imaginations, their own inventions, and creativity during outside play; kids naturally become more creative and imaginative.
7.  Better grades.  Because spending time outdoors helps kids concentrate and encourages critical thinking, kids test better.  In fact, schools with environmental programs have shown to have higher scores in standardize testing.

The amount of time one should spend outside really varies.  Obviously, there are harmful effects from over exposure to UV rays.  Doctors recommend at least an hour a day.  The safest times to be outdoors are early morning and late evening.  The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.  And of course, remember to always wear sunscreen.

Some activities you can do in your backyard or local park…
-Make a leaf collection.  Find 5-10 different leaves and look up what kind they are.  Now you also have an art project.  Glue the leaves to construction paper, and write down what kind of leaf it is.  Make a book with a three hole punch and some yarn.  My kids and I did this last year and they loved it!
-A scavenger hunt.  Write down random things; a tree, a butterfly, something orange.  This is something you can do at a park, in the backyard, while taking a walk, or even in the car.
-A picnic.  Nothing to really say about this one.  Backyard or park, picnics are fun and you don’t have to clean the kitchen afterward.
-Start a dirt garden.  Dirt gardens are genius and I am seriously wanting to start one.  Essentially, they are just patches of worked soil that your kids have carte blanche to play in.  Dig it, bury it (anything you don’t want buried, put up very high!), and find it.  My kids have dug up worms, rocks, and even old toys.  It’s like discovering buried treasure!

If this isn’t enough to get you outside, I don’t know what will!  Get you kids outside.  They will be happier, healthier, and smarter for it!

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