Before the introduction of modern technology, children often found entertainment outdoors. Whether that was building a wooden fort, pretending to be adventurers, having tea parties etc. Kids were substantially more creative in the ways to entertain themselves.
However, times have changed. Kids between the ages of 5-16 are said to spend over 6 hours a day looking at a screen. With their minds being fixated on being entertained as quick as possible, going outside is seen more boring. Schools should now be looking at ways of improving children’s exercise levels.
The Current Situation
Lately, there has been a huge decrease in fitness amongst children. The NHS released information saying that over 1 in every 5 youngsters in Reception and 1 in every 3 youngsters in their 6th year of primary school were declared obese or overweight.
In addition to this, only around 17% of pupils are doing the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Due to all of this, the current generation has been labelled as the laziest generation. Low activity levels in children are causing health problems which can become worse later in life, so it’s best to try and tackle the issue now.
Why is this Happening?
Simple. Technology. As a result of the introduction of new products and devices, children always have access to these methods of entertainment. It’s things such as:
- Games consoles
As they interact with these things, their patience and attention span slowly decrease as modern technology can keep providing kids with short little bursts of entertainment. This is often why this generation tend to avoid playing outside. Being active and doing exercise is not as entertaining.
Of course, there are PE lessons which aim to provide youth with 60 minutes of focused physical activities to keep them healthy. But they’re not as effective as many people believe. It was found that children sometimes find PE lessons intimidating and scary, causing them to not fully engage with it as much as they should be.
Due to this, they often stand around and talk to friends instead of engaging with the subject properly; causing the whole point of the lesson to be ignored. Even when offering varied sports, children can still feel scared and confused about the whole situation.
Outdoor Play can still be Appealing
Not all hope is lost. The British government have agreed to offer £150 million each year to improve physical exercise in academic institutions, meaning the schools that your children go to can improve the equipment the kids have access to. This can include features which encourage outdoor learning for children along with physical fitness.
Interactive playgrounds are a great method to engage children at school. Combinations of bright colours and interesting designs mean they will be constantly interested and engaged with it compared to a bland and dull playground. Check out our school playground designs here to see how you could improve children’s exercise levels at your school.
In addition, children can have true freedom when it comes to interacting with it. They won’t have someone telling them how to approach it but instead allows the child to come up with their own approach to it and to fully enjoy it in their own way.
The Benefits of Outdoor Play
Of course, there are A LOT of physical health benefits that are given to children by engaging with the outdoor play areas and playing outside. One of the major things is the increase of Vitamin D. With this increase in vitamin D, they avoid the risk of health problems, such as muscle pains and aches, weakened bones, rickets and more.
Playing outside has proved to enhance attention spans and equip children of all ages with the ability to learn at a faster pace and more efficiently. Through this, they can perform entirely better in school and clubs. As well as this, they’ll become easier to entertain and because of this, they’ll enjoy the little things even more.
It also benefits mental health. Children can fully interact with others whilst outside in a fun and interesting environment. This allows them to build confidence and social skills in a bright and imaginative environment. Improvements in imagination and creativity can also be seen as children can fully be themselves. Check out the different primary school play equipment to see which features you could add to your outdoor space.
And of course, through playing outside they will get an increased release of dopamine (the happy hormone). Levels of happiness will lead to a higher level of motivation and interest, leading to an improvement in attitude towards everyday activities.
Other Things Combatting Obesity in Young People
Not only does the increase in government funding in physical exercise combat obesity, but things like the sugar tax are slowing it down.
The government is adding an additional charge on any product which is too sugary, hopefully deterring people from buying those products as often and look for other alternatives. Money from the tax is added to the funding of improving health.
Schools can get a daily mile trail done on their interactive playgrounds. The daily mile aims for kids to walk at least a mile every day to gain the health benefits from it. Creating a bright and fun trail can allow the kids to do the walk without even realising that they are doing exercise.
Results Will Start to Show
When you see how your child acts after they follow the recommended 60 minutes of physical exercise, you will understand how beneficial it is to them developing into an adult. Their attitudes and thinking towards certain situations improve a lot more and overall, they become more of a better person.
Even though many will label this generation as the laziest, this can easily be changed. As the government is encouraging schools to increase physical activity and fitness, there hasn’t been a better time for schools to get interactive playgrounds and/or improve the equipment available for children.