7 Mental Benefits of Outdoor Activities for Children

Outdoor activities have many mental benefits for children.

outdoor activities


Most parents realize that it’s healthy for their children to play outdoors, but often, parents only consider the physical health benefits. It’s true that outdoor play burns calories (and energy), helping ensure your child stays fit and maintains a healthy weight. But the benefits of outdoor play go far beyond the physical. Did you know that there your child also experiences mental benefits from playing outside? Here are seven positive effects that outdoor play has on children.

1. Improved Behavior

There’s the report that as little as 15 minutes a day of recess improves children’s classroom behavior. Romina Barros, M.D. surmises that children’s brains are better able to absorb information after they enjoy the rest of free play. Whether you need your child to focus on homework or need her to behave in front of company, an outdoor break could be the difference between failure and success.

2. Increased Creativity

Creative play outdoors encourages children to think creatively. Children invent new games, which teaches communication skills as they explain rules. When games are scored, children also learn number skills. Children may be creating and enjoying their own mind training games without even knowing it!

3. Improved Decision-making

If your child is indecisive, he may benefit from some time outside. The freedom of outdoor play and safety in playground lets children choose where and how to play. Children can develop autonomy and even organizational skills when they have the opportunity to play outside. These skills transfer well to the home and to the classroom.

4. Better Social Interaction

When children play creatively, they develop social skills. Both “role play” enjoyed by younger children and “rules play” envisioned by older children help children learn to interact with one another. Studies report that when children are permitted free play outdoors, they are better able to get along with others.

5. Mental Health Benefits

Studies have shown that mental functioning improves with time spent outdoors. Research shows that those who spend less time outdoors may be more likely to experience depression.

6. Learning Actively

Some skills are difficult to teach in the classroom but much easier to learn on the playground. Active play can help children learn to face and overcome challenges. Using outdoor kid’s play equipment also teaches spatial skills when children learn not just the ranges of their own bodies, but also how three-dimensional items move in space. Often, the best learning toys can be found outdoors.


outdoor activities


7. Biological Benefits

Playing outside does help your child’s body, but the body-mind benefits go much deeper. When children have recess, their memory and focus improves, and they even gain more connections in their brain. It stands to reason that all forms of outdoor play boasts similar benefits, even when children play outside of recess.

It’s clear that outdoor activities provide many benefits beyond helping your child stay strong and physically healthy. All parents should treat outdoor play as an important part of their child’s daily routine.

Author BIO

Emily pic


Emily is stay-at-home mom with a petite 2-year-old girl. She is also a freelance writer. Emily is a contributor of lifestyle magazine handle with food, craft, and travel section. She likes to enjoy cooking for her kid at home by creating new ideas.

18 thoughts on “7 Mental Benefits of Outdoor Activities for Children

  1. As a child I loved being outdoors. I guess I never really saw these benefits then, but looking back this makes a lot of sense to me. Children should spend more time outside and enjoy these awesome benefits. In the age of technology this is getting increasingly harder.

  2. I love this! As a mom of a 2 year old, I literally have to think about where I want to take her everyday. I hate to have her indoors all day. I think this is so important to get them out of the house everyday or at least get their mind active in organized activities.

  3. Love these points. It’s so important to let the little ones play outside. Exploring the world around them is key to their emotional development as well. There’s so much to see outside.. and lots to touch!

  4. I can definitely believe in all of these – getting outside is so important, especially in this day and age where technology rules. I don’t have any kids but if I ever do, getting them outside would be a big priority for me. Thanks for the great info. 🙂

  5. I’m planning on having recreational activities outside of the house for the family. It’s good to know that doing such activities, like horseback riding and fishing has a lot of benefits. I especially like that it can reduce the risk of depression for kids. Thanks for sharing!

  6. There really are a lot of skills and mental health benefits that kids can gain from playing outside and it is great that the article goes over so many of them. In particular, I love that the article brings up better social interaction as one of these. After all, kids need to be able to play with each other in order to figure out what social roles they are going to fulfill in society.

Leave a Reply