One major reason that it is so important for kids to be outside is that playing outside naturally yields itself to gross motor activity! What kid goes outside and just sits on the sidewalk? No, kids want to run, jump, skip, throw a ball, swing, go down a slide…do things that kids are meant to do. And the great things is that all of these things kids enjoy doing help them to develop balance and proper muscle tone. Plus, it burns lots and lots of energy (good news for mothers of boys who need to burn this energy off…maybe that’s why winter is so difficult for us!). Keep in mind that gross motor development is JUST AS IMPORTANT as cognitive and language development!
Spring is around the corner (or rather today it is here), which means there are ample opportunities for gross motor activity! While the weather is nice, make an effort to spend at least an hour outside. If you have babies or young toddlers, go for a walk and get some fresh air. We sometimes have to be a bit more vigilant when we are outside to ensure the safety of our children, but it is totally worth it!
Meeting friends at the playground is an excellent way to promote social development as well. In my very limited experience, I’ve noticed that rarely will children fight at a playground like they tend to when toys are involved. I love meeting friends at the park because the “bigger” kids can play while I watch Little Brother like a hawk because he thinks he is a big kid and is a little daredevil to the core. I’ve noticed that the kids learned how to take turns, help friends up while crossing a difficult bridge, and include new friends while playing at the park!
So get on outside (weather permitting) and enjoy all the benefits of outdoor play!