Why Sports and Outdoor Activities are Important for Children’s Development?


In this day and age, children are bombarded with different technological advancements in an earlier life. The moment they appreciate moving pictures, some parents are quick in introducing smartphones, tablets, TVs, computers, laptops, and other gadgets. While an electronic device isn’t bad for itself, it may encourage children to stay indoors and forget about playing outside the house.

However, do you know that there are different benefits that your children may obtain from engaging in sports and outdoor activities? In this article, you will learn about how outdoor activities can contribute to your child’s development.

YOKOSUKA, Japan (Aug. 8, 2009) Dependent children of service members and Department of Defense civilians play at a child development center at Naval Activities Yokosuka, Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Shannon Renfroe/Released)

Physical development

According to one statistics, 1 out of 3 children in the United States is considered overweight or obese. Part of the cause of this problem is that more and more kids are staying in their homes and don’t get the necessary exercise that they need.

Engaging in physical sports and doing outdoor activities help children burn calories and spend their extra energy. Not only that, but sports allow children stay fit and get rid of toxins from their body.

Since children are still in their developmental stage, playing outdoor games allows them to improve their motor skills, hand and eye coordination, balance, and overall performance. Furthermore, physical activities promote stronger muscular, skeletal, immune, respiratory, and cardiovascular system.

Emotional development

Children who engage in sports are more developed in terms of their emotional intelligence. Playing with each other gives children the opportunity to know how to properly handle winning and losing. Little by little, they grow in emotional maturity as they face different situations that allow them to exercise controlling emotions. By playing outside and playing with other kids, they learn how to stay positive when things don’t go their way, get more involved in solving problems, and trying to empathize with other children.

Moreover, sports and outdoor activities are ideal “teaching moments” for parents or guardians. It gives parents the chance to impart valuable lessons and teach their children how to grow as mature individuals.

Encouraging your kids to play outside does not have to be too time-consuming or expensive. Of course, if you have the extra time and money, then by all means, go the extra mile. However, you can do some simple things to help your kids appreciate the outdoors. For example, you can bring them to a park, gym, or sports center near you. You can buy them a bike or you can take them on a picnic, invite some relatives and friends, grab some tarps, snacks, toys, and before you know it, you are already having a wonderful time playing together.

Social development

Most smartphone game apps today don’t encourage team play, but rather they allow children to just shrink back to their comfort zone and play within the confines of their smartphone or tablet screen.

Outdoor activities and sports are different. It enables children to meet other children and develop a lasting friendship. Not only that but playing as a team develops the ability of kids on how to relate to others. Team sports is a perfect avenue where children learn how to work successfully as a group. They also learn teamwork, leadership, and communication skills.

Mental development

Almost all sports require children to think on their feet and practice certain skills that allow them to become more intelligent.

Among the most important skills developed in playing outdoor games is critical thinking. It is something that no school lecture can effectively teach. In order to develop critical thinking, the child should actually be out there, moving his/her body and thinking how to solve problems in a timely manner.

Take for example the basketball game. Children quickly assess every unique situation, calculate every move, know where their teammates are, and determine the best move based on those pieces of information, and all of these mental processes have to happen within just a matter of few seconds.

Moreover, allowing children to come out and play gives them the opportunity to appreciate nature, breathe in fresh air, and explore the outdoors which also contribute to the kids’ mental development.

Final Thoughts

Time and again, clinical studies and even your experience tell you how important it is for children to engage in sports and outdoor activities.

Engaging in outdoor activities builds the right foundation for children so that they become more productive and well-rounded adults in the future. These activities help children improve their physical, emotional, social, and mental health. Thus, it is essential to give children the opportunity explore the outdoors, play with other kids, and expose them to real-life situations.