For the majority of students across the nation, the school year is once again in full swing, and although it's important for youngsters to spend time at night studying for tests and doing homework, some experts are urging parents to factor in time for natural play
. Tulsa World reports even though school is in session, healthy kids
still need to get 60 minutes of daily recommended exercise, and it may be up to parents to ensure this requirement is fulfilled.
Play is beneficial not just in terms of exercise, but also for kids' emotional and mental well-being. A recent study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found almost half of preschool-aged children are not getting enough outdoor play
at school or at home.
During the trials, scientists recruited 9,000 children born in 2001 and tracked them every few years until they reached kindergarten. Parents were also interviewed during the study. Aside from learning that nearly half of the kids involved did not play outside at all every day, they also found parents who exercised were more likely to ensure their kids spent time engaged in outdoor play.
These numbers shocked researchers who stressed in their conclusion that outdoor play is crucial in a child's development of motor skills, vision and mental acuity. The National Wildlife Federation adds children who are engaged in natural play regularly have been found to be less stressed and anxious as they age. These kids also tend to be better students as they enter school.
Although it may be hard for parents to fit in outdoor play among the other activities their kids are committed to after school, it is important for them to try. Tulsa World suggested a few ways families can stay active outdoors together.
According to the source, parents should make time to start a healthy routine with their families ranging from taking a nightly walk after dinner to going for a bike ride each night to different parts of town. It's also OK to start slow, any outdoor activity including kicking the ball around in the backyard or going to the park to use commercial playground equipment
helps keep kids engaged and excited about being outdoors. Inviting friends over or signing the youngsters up for sports teams are other ways to ensure they spend ample time in nature during the school year.