Physical health can be incredibly important for a child as they are growing up. But one of the many areas which many schools and parents forget about is mental health. Today’s blog will cover the importance of mental health in children and why and how outdoor play can improve it.
Mental Health Benefits of Play
Outdoor play is often associated with improving the physical health of a child and nothing else. Whilst it’s true that physical health is increased hugely by just performing 20 minutes of exercise every day, everyone tends to forget that children’s mental health is improved. Benefits include:
- Increase in life expectancy – As children are spending more time outside, they start to gain brilliant health benefits from it. A lot of fat is burnt is burned off in addition to keeping blood pressure normal and removing toxins from the body through sweat.
- Improvement in wellbeing – Playing with friends allows kids to have time to socialise and enjoy themselves. Through this, they escape stress for a while and have time to laugh and have fun. It creates a method of dealing with stress and upsetting situations.
- Reduction of depression – Vitamin D is a vital vitamin when it comes to keeping the body feeling great. It increases the production of serotonin which can lead to you feeling a lot happier, alongside improving bone and muscle structure.
- Stronger ability to perform in school – Giving children time to play helps them release built up energy and focus more in class. By focusing more, the kids will learn a lot more about the given topic without many problems.
Encouraging kids to take part in outdoor activities can really help with these areas and develop them into a more confident and effective person. Keeping children active is a great idea and playing allows this type of behaviour to occur and take place. It has also been shown that outdoor play can reduce stress and anxiety in children at school.
How Playing can Improve Children’s Health
General assumptions are that play is only used for entertainment and fun and doesn’t really wield any benefits for those playing. However, as shown before, play does offer a wide range of benefits to those who take part in activities and spend time outside. This post gives more details on the main benefits of play for children.
One of the main reasons for this is due to the increase of vitamin D children will receive. As one of the more important vitamins in the body, the sun is one of the best providers of vitamin D as most children won’t be taking vitamin supplements. In addition, clean oxygen will be being breathed in meaning the respiration cycle can take place and keep the kids healthy.
Outdoor play can also have a soothing effect on children. Giving them a natural environment and giving them the freedom to do what they want allows them to release their energy a lot quicker through their own means. Reductions in hyperactivity, especially in those suffering with ADHD, can be aw and is incredibly noticeable.
5 minutes of exercise in a natural outdoor environment is enough to greatly increase self-esteem and mental health and well-being in kids. A new environment offers excitement and fun and can allow for the imagination to run wild and give kids a chance to escape from reality and enter a fictional world of their choice. We offer a range of outdoor play area designs to help schools create a unique space.
Outdoor play has so many benefits and it can be easy to see how it gives kids them. The best bit of advice to keep in mind is that giving kids more freedom on how they spend their playtime as it’s a great way to fully harness all benefits.
Boosting Mental Development in Schools
Mental health is incredibly important in life and especially in the younger years as it can have an effect on how the child develops over time. Ofsted and the Government are starting to encourage more action from schools towards this area of health and to give children the correct facilities to keep them happy.
Schools should be able to provide an environment in which children feel safe and happy in and there’s no better way than to create an exciting and imaginative play area. Outdoor activities are even better, letting kids breathe in fresh air and have hardly any restrictions on their play.
Some children may be going through hard times at homes and find it difficult to focus on lessons and will instead dedicate focus onto their situations. It’s common but by distracting them with something fun and then teaching them something new afterwards will keep them focused on the present and not the past. This is incredibly vital if you plan to improve the mental health of your pupils.
Better Concentration in Lessons
Concentration can be incredibly hard to get through children during the early years. Many are focused on play or home time so during lessons, many of them can become bored and start messing around during the lesson. Check out our school playground marking designs and find out how to transform a plain surface into something more exciting.
Not only this but during this age, a lot of kids have built up energy and want a way to release it without letting it build up within them. Energy can be incredibly distracting and an annoyance for kids and therefore they will start to focus on getting rid of it. Playtime is a great way to deal with this.
Energy can be released quickly when kids have full control over what they do during playtime and when it takes places outdoors, more physical activities can take place. Running, jumping, balancing, climbing etc. can easily be done and kids will often turn to these activities to release most of their energy.
Overall, there are many ways of improving children’s mental health with play as well as it having physical benefits. Encouraging them to spend some more time outside (even if it’s for 5 minutes) can really help the pupils find a better mental workspace and feel more prepared for lessons!