How Fit Are Your Kids?
With back to school in full swing across the continent some of us may be realizing that our kids are returning not quite as tanned and fit as we thought they might. In fact, the average North American kid seems to have a stronger knowledge of the summer’s most popular TV shows than stronger biceps and quads.
While the average North American child may return to school sporting a little more around the midriff, it doesn’t mean we need to lose hope. As parents we can combat childhood obesity in one very simple way–and that is through active, outdoor play. All year long.
An easy way to start nurturing that love of the outdoors and active play is through local playgrounds–an outdoor structure designed specifically for kids to climb, jump, swing, slide, and move around upon. Playgrounds not only help create physically healthy kids, but also promote mental health and developmental skills.
5 Ways Playgrounds Create Healthier Kids
1. Make Friends!
Playgrounds allow children to meet other neighbourhood kids and make new friends. When friends are at the local playground it encourages other kids to play there more often. In fact, Pediatrics recently reported that kids are more likely to be active if they have active friends.
2. Developmental perks!
Playground play is social which allows kids to engage in social play and receive immediate feedback on their actions and behaviours. Vital for healthy child development.
3. Motor skills!
Playing actively outdoors is one of the best ways to combat childhood obesity. And playground play is naturally active. As well, kids who play on irregular play surfaces tend to have better motor fitness.
4. Promotes mental health!
Children who play outdoors have reduced depression, and anxiety, both sadly on the rise among children. Playgrounds are a fun way for kids to spend a lot of time outdoors.
5. Builds safer neighbourhoods!
Playgrounds can act as a social hub for a neighbourhood, bringing families outdoors, allowing neighbours to meet one another, and to look out for one another. And if you feel safe sending your kids out to play, they are going to play more often and are less likely to have obesity-related health issues.
What do you think? Shall we meet up in the playground this fall and build us some physically healthy individuals?
Can playgrounds create healthier kids? http://t.co/oS0sgk2p
— Jean Oram (@KidsPlay) September 4, 2012