Benefits of Kids Playing Outside

Benefits of Kids Playing Outside + Ideas

There are so many benefits of kids playing outside.  Have you ever noticed that if you are having a rough moment, simply spending time outside can completely change your mood? I notice this all the time not only for me, but also for my kids.

I did some research to find out some of the benefits of spending time outside and I’m sharing them with you below!

hiking with kids

Benefits of Kids Playing Outside

Here is just a short list of benefits of kids playing outside.  A quick google search and you can find tons of studies supporting outside play!

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Advanced Motor Skills

Playing outside allows kids to develop more advanced motor skills than children who spend most of their time indoors.

Angela Hanscom, pediatric occupational therapist, states, “Ideally, kids of all ages should get at least three hours of free play outdoors a day.


Outdoor play activities help to boost a child’s coordination and strength


Spending time in the sun can help your kid’s moods and also boost their immune system.


Outdoor play helps children build their sense of independence.

Mental Health

One 2019 study found that increased childhood exposure to fresh air and greenery is associated with better mental health later in life. It is also found to lower stress and fatigue!

playing in the creek

Tips To Getting Kids Outside

Start Small

If you haven’t spent much time outside before it is okay to start small.  Have a goal of 30 minutes a day and build quickly from there.

Let them be bored but give them options

Yes, boredom is actually good for kids…AKA unstructured time. If they come to you and express they are bored, try giving them a few ideas to do outside and let them decide from there.

Explore new places

There are so many fun places to check out. You could sit down as a family and make a list of places everyone is interested in exploring.  Then slowly start exploring them!

If your family wants to explore hiking the  AllTrails App is a great place to start.

Bring a friend

Inviting friends can help especially if you have older kids or larger age gaps.

Connect as a family

The benefits we shared above also count for mom and dad! Yes get in on the fun and really enjoy some of this outside time together.  Make memories.  You won’t regret it.

Prepare for Mess

It is okay for kids to get dirty.  Mentally prepare for it! I know it can be hard, but it is so good for them.  Just remind yourself that you have packed a change of clothes and shoes (see below) and that it’s part of the experience!

Plan Ahead

Make sure you plan and prepare for your outside activities.  If you are going to be outside for an extended period of time you want to pack and be prepared!  Sharing a small list of must-have items below.

  • Snacks
  • Picnic
  • Water
  • Sun protection
  • First aid kit
  • Extra clothes and shoes (have in the car)


Go off of the ideas you make together. Some ideas may include checking out parks, riding bikes, fishing, kayaking/paddleboarding, catching crawdads, skateboarding, reading in a patch of grass, having a picnic, drawing, painting rocks, hiking, lakes, zoos, outdoor gardens, and mini golf.

playing at the lake

1000 Outside Challenge

There is a really fun challenge that challenges families to spend 1000 hours outside annually.  The idea is that if kids can spend 1200 in front of screens they can easily spend it outside!

They have these fun free trackers that you can print and track hours outside. It’s okay to “fail” but the point is to fail trying! Every hour outside is actually a win!

Enjoy the Outside

Now that you know the benefits of kids playing outside, it’s time to start planning and tracking!  It truly can be life-changing for the entire family. Let us know your favorite way to enjoy outside play together!


Kacey Queen is a co-founder of Nevada Moms

Kacey received her bachelor's in Psychology while cheering for the University of Oregon. They moved to Reno in 2014 and have loved it ever since. She is a dedicated homeschooling mother to her three children.

She serves on the hospital board for Northern Nevada Health Systems and is passionate about her community.

Kacey loves exploring with her family and finding family-friendly events and activities! A few of her favorite things include family adventures, traveling, working out, coffee, and dessert!