How can outdoor play be good for children’s mental health?May 30, 2019
Good mental health is vitally important at all stages of life, but particularly in childhood. During their school years, children are learning vast amounts of new information about themselves and the world they live in, and they’re also developing the physical and mental health responses that can stay with them throughout their lives. That’s why it’s so important for parents and schools to do all they can to create happy, stress-free children, and high-quality outdoor thermoplastic playground markings can be one of the tools to help you achieve that.
Boosting the happy hormone
Studies show that around one in ten school-age children suffers from a mental health problem, so it’s vitally important to provide the support they need, and also address potential causes. Causes can be genetic, relating to problems in their lives, or down to chemical imbalances, and exposure to sunlight can make a big difference to this last factor. Sunlight is our natural source of vitamin D, one of the most important vitamins of all as this, in turn, creates the hormone serotonin. This is known as the ‘happy hormone’ as it’s been linked with mood; put simply, children who are out playing in the sun more often will receive more vitamin D and produce more serotonin and are therefore likelier to receive its happiness boosting qualities.
Physical and mental health benefits
The physical health and fitness of a child can have a major impact on their mental health, which is why the Mental Health Foundation recommends that all children should take part in around half an hour of low-intensity aerobic exercise every day, consistently throughout their childhood. (This is part of the reason why the Daily Mile is such a popular addition to school playgrounds.) School breaks are a perfect time for children to engage in this vitally important activity, and a well designed and attractively marked playground is much more likely to get children running around and taking part in aerobic exercise. Uniplay are specialists in the creation of colourful and attractive school playgrounds.
Encouraging social interaction
Loneliness and isolation at any age can be a major factor in many mental health problems, so it’s particularly important that school children learn the social interaction skills that will prove so essential in later years. Playgrounds provide a perfect place for children to learn how to interact with their peers. Even at this early age, friendships made in the school playground can go on to last a lifetime, and these friends can form the support network that we all need from time to time.
Children who are playing outdoors are gaining nature’s benefits via sunlight, getting the exercise that boosts both physical and mental health and learning the social and communication skills that are the most important life skills of them all. That’s why our brightly coloured playground markings and games can bring children a wide range of mental health benefits, as well as helping to support them in their learning.
Our philosophy at Uniplay is “to see children of all abilities develop essential skills through play” and we specialise in the design and installation of thermoplastic playground markings, giving playgrounds colour and creativity to enhance play, fitness and fun. You can choose your favourites from our extensive range of categories, or if give one of our friendly experts a call on 0333 321 6695 if you have any questions, or need any advice. We’re always happy to help!