9 ways the outdoors beats the playground

Playing in the outdoors is the best fun of all— way better than any playground.

Here in West Virginia, we have the most beautiful natural outdoor playground that kids of all ages will enjoy.

Being in nature appeals to a child’s natural curiosity and sense of adventure, and develops all kinds of skills. But most of all, it’s really fun.

Here are 9 ways the outdoors beat the playground:

1. Healthier Kids

Your kids will be healthier playing in the outdoors, because their play is likely to be more active. Plus, time in the sun will ensure they get plenty of Vitamin D.

2. Develop Motor Skills

With more space to explore, kids can run, jump, skip and climb to their hearts’ content. Natural obstacles help kids develop balance, coordination and strength. Activities like playing in the sand and skipping stones develop fine motor skills.

3. It’s Not a Stick

Playing in the outdoors gives kids a chance to actively use their imagination. They can find endless objects to play with, and use them to dream up wild adventures.

4. Confidence and Independence

When kids master outdoor skills, whether it’s hiking a trail, rafting, biking or completing a ropes course, they develop confidence and a sense of independence. You’ll get to see how proud they are of their accomplishments from their ear-to-ear grin.

5. Natural Sensations

Kids will have a complete sensory experience in the outdoors. All the different sights, sounds, smells and textures will give kids an amazing sensation as they touch and explore the natural world.

6. Forest Friends

Being in the outdoors gives kids the chance to meet more friends: birds, frogs and other forest creatures. Kids can have fun spotting different creatures and watching them in their natural habitat. Creatures to look for in West Virginia are our state bird, the Red Cardinal, or frogs, squirrels, butterflies and lightning bugs at dusk.

7. Appreciation of Nature

Kids who spend time outside develop an appreciation for nature. Once kids develop a bond with the outdoors as their playground, they’ll understand the effects of things like littering, and want to help protect the environment.

8. Critical Thinking and Concentration

Kids will develop critical thinking and concentration skills as they come up with their own games and activities, all through the power of play in the outdoors.

9. Relaxed and Tired

A real benefit for parents of active kids is having happy, relaxed and tired kids at the end of the day. Studies show that kids who spend time outside are more relaxed and able to concentrate more, while most parents notice that their happy, slightly dirty kids go to sleep earlier and faster!

Where in West Virginia do you take your kids to play in the mountain outdoors?

Explore WV’s outdoors >

This post was last updated on October 19, 2017