So many schools are reducing recess–outdoor play–due to budget cuts and hopes of boosting test scores. However, studies show that increased recess time results in better test scores compared to increasing time in the classroom. Yikes!
But here’s something you may not have heard about in the argument for keeping recess. Outdoor play–and specifically, recess–helps our kids eyesight. I know! Wow, right?
On the website All About Vision, they quote several studies that found all sorts of interesting results. Here are a few quotes I found particularly interesting:
The researchers calculated a 2 percent drop in the risk of developing myopia for each additional hour children spend outdoors per week. “This is equivalent to an 18 percent reduction for every additional hour of exposure per day,” they said.
Compared with children with normal eyesight or farsightedness, children with myopia spent an average of 3.7 fewer hours per week outside.
In other words, more time outside means you’re increasing your child’s chance they WON’T need glasses. Think of all the money you’ll save!
In favour of recess:
The study authors concluded that outdoor activities during recess in elementary school have a significant protective effect on myopia risk among children that are not yet nearsighted and reduce the progression of myopia among nearsighted schoolchildren.
The 12-year-old children who spent more time outdoors had less myopia at the end of the two-year study period than others in the study.
There you have it.
Let’s get outside and play! What do we do in the Oram household? Well, first of all we got a dog. Why? Because not only does it teach our kids empathy and responsibility for others, but our dog gets us outside daily. We walk the dog, the kids ride their bikes alongside or walk too. It’s great exercise for all of us!
The brain is better able to pay attention, hold things in memory, and show self-control after it has been outdoors.
–Gabrielle Principe, Your Brain on Childhood
Getting a dog isn’t your thing? It doesn’t have to be complicated or strenuous. How about these simple activities that will get you outdoors:
9 Ways To Get Outside as a Family
Watch the Sunrise / Sunset
Does the world seem different at this time of day? What colors do you see in the sky?
Find Cloud Animals
Lie on your back and look at the clouds—whoa! Is that a giraffe?
Draw on the Sidewalk with Chalk
Try and Catch Your Shadow
Can you catch it?
Make your own rings out of plastic container lids. Then shove a stick into the ground to toss them onto!
Picnic, BBQ, simply taking your meal out on the deck–it’s still outdoors and you’ll still get the benefits of being out in nature. Both for your soul and your eyesight.
Thanks for playing! See you next time. And if you need more activity ideas don’t forget to check out my book, 1,001 Boredom Busting Play Ideas. It’s reasonably priced so everyone can play.