Living in today’s “tech-savvy“, germ-a-phobic world. I find that children are spending less and less time outdoors. Understanding technology and taking care of oneself is incredibly vital, however, there is nothing more satisfying and enjoyable for a child (some children – let’s not forget that some ailments prevent many children from enjoying this experience) than getting down and dirty.  In my opinion.

Here’s why.

1. Children who play outdoors are exposed to the freedom that children who spend most of their time indoors on tech gadgets aren’t. They learn to investigate, navigate, explore and respect their surroundings. They become adventurous, daring and better able to assess risk and deal with it.

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2. When children are exposed to germs (some germs, in small measure, let’s not be irresponsible now) it strengthens their immune systems, therefore making them healthier and stronger in fighting germs. (Yes, they are in there P’J’s, it was one of THOSE days)

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3. Getting outside encourages play… play burns calories… therefore AIDING in the prevention of obesity in our children. Sadly,  there has been such an increase in weight issues within young children today. And I think that the simple act of regular outdoor play can make a very big difference in that regard.

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4. Have we watched our children play outdoors? They are enormously happy. Happy kids feel less stressed, they are producing serotonin (“happy drug”) which helps them release frustration and “negative” energy which may have been caused at school or a difficult situation. It helps them to sub-consciously release anger and improves their mood (fights depression). It’s like exercise for an adult. (Yes, she is covered in mud. Those are not BROWN pants) :)

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5. Playing outdoors allows the body to receive Vitamin D, a healthy dose of the sun improves the mood, gives energy and it has even been said that enough vitamin D aids in fighting the FLU and other diseases.

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6. The outdoors encourages family time. When sitting indoors most of us are on our computers, playing on the Ipad, watching TV, etc.. Getting out, going for a hike, playing soccer or having a barbecue and cooking marshmallows encourages talk, talk improves relationships and brings families together.

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7. Gross Motor development happens when children are running, climbing, swimming etc. Those muscles need to develop in a non-threatening and healthy way, so why not play?

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The benefits to getting down and dirty far outweigh sitting indoors. I cannot wait for Summer to really begin. It has been a long winter and I am eager to get outdoors with my kids.

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Dirty play is Good Play.

Jacqui Bester