Playtime and children have always been synonymous but as the years pass, how they are associated have begun to change. For one, being in a playground isn't as natural anymore for many children. From a time when you'd practically have to tear away a child from playground equipment to get them to go home, children these days would rather stay home than play outside, even choosing doing tedious chores over spending time outdoors. This translates to just a over an hour spent outdoors on a weekday and no more than five hours on the weekend, a very stark contrast to figures in the 1980s which showed children enjoyed over two hours of playtime outside each weekday plus nine more hours when the weekend comes regardless of the weather.
Ask any parent and it's highly likely that they'll tell you - their children are playing not more than half the time they did when they were young. This isn't too surprising though given that many parents actually relegate physical fitness as the responsibility of their children's school, relying on the measly time children are allowed to play in the yard to pass for playground fitness. This is problematic because while there is recognition that children get fit at playgrounds, there is no active effort on the part of the parent to get their children playing outdoors. And unfortunately, when left on their own, children just don't spend enough time playing outdoors for any real benefit to be realized. This is why if playtime is to be beneficial, active participation on the part of parents is required as well.
As the adult, it is up to you to steer a child in the right direction. The good thing about taking advantage of playgrounds and playtime is that it doesn't feel like you're doing work. Though spending time in playgrounds has numerous benefits, like you can use play to subsist kids’ obesity or use play to resolve rivalry, it is still inherently fun and for the most part that's all you need children to realize. No need to give them a lecture about the role of the playground to combat kids’ obesity or that it can improve how they can make more friends. You can skim over the details but you must make your point that playtime is fun but it can even be better when done outdoors.
The obesity epidemic is very real so it is important for parents and adults to take action to ensure children are healthy. Ironically, while parents and adults face the challenging task of getting children to spend more time playing outdoors, it is through playtime that they can best get through to children. How is this? Again, playtime and children have always been synonymous. Children today may have very little idea what green play is but they can get behind the idea of playing in general. Play up this fact and you're like to see a reduction in obesity symptoms as children start connecting with nature through play. The environment has dwindled a lot in the last decades but it still has a lot to offer your child. Not to mention that there's something wee bit sad about a child not knowing how to ride a bike. Children under five years old can use a computer but not a bike? Preposterous! It's time to change that if you don't want your child to become part of obesity statistics.
It's a well-known fact that beating the causes of obesity is about creating a calorie deficit by burning off more than what has been consumed. Since burning off calories entails physical activity, playtime makes for an excellent tool in combating obesity in children. If you want to get several children moving, you can take advantage of a little siblings rivalry by turning playtime into a more elaborate game. For example, you can set a minimum period of time that the children will have to spend outdoors playing. The most basic goal will be that all participants will have to meet the minimum period of time set and all those who achieve this will get a prize. To tap into that competitive streak between siblings, give a bigger reward for the one to log in the most hours of outdoor play beyond the minimum period of time set. Don't forget to use a reward that interests all of the children involved for the incentive to work.
To say that spending time outdoors is good for you is an understatement. Simply stepping out to breathe fresh air will do wonders for the health so what more if physical activity is involved, right? Obesity facts may have scared you into taking action for your children but the truth is that green outdoor playtime offers so much more than physical benefits. To be more apt, you could say that playtime is the ultimate developmental tool, harnessing an innocent, fun activity to bring about proper mental, physical, and emotional acuity that every child would need. There is much to be explored in the world and outdoor playtime is the portal.