While the advent of mobile electronics, such as cell phones and tablets, has improved life in many ways, there is one area in which these modern conveniences has had a detrimental impact: the amount of time our children spend outdoors.
Studies, such as those done by the National Trust and Seattle Children’s Research Institute, have shown that children today and spending less time outdoors than ever before. There are a variety of factors that have led to this decline, such as lack of safe outdoor spaces and structured indoor activities, but the largest impact by far has been as a result of personal electronics.
Doctors and specialists are recommending that children get outside more often in order to reap the health benefits of outdoor play. Extensive research into human physiology have shown that we need sunlight to thrive. While prolonged sun exposure should be avoided, outdoor activity has been proven to have many health benefits.
- Active Play & Exercise: A tricycle is an excellent way to get a child moving their body and encourages active play and exercise, which is something that all doctors recommend for young children.
- Cognitive Development: Outdoor play, particularly play that includes riding a tricycle, helps the cognitive development of young children by helping reinforce spatial reasoning and gross motor skills.
- Fosters Freedom and Responsibility: Riding toys are important because they allow the child to develop a sense of freedom and responsibility that are difficult to replicate with other experiences. The ability to make a “machine” move under their power and control provides a sense of fun like no other. All you need do to see this in action is to watch a child as they ride a tricycle or bike for the first time. The joy that comes from such play is undeniable.
- Builds Confidence and Self-Reliance: Another, sometimes unexpected benefit of riding a bike or tricycle is the boost to confidence that it builds. As children learn to ride, they will have to apply reasoning and troubleshooting skills in order to make them successful riders. As the child practices, they will see marked improvement in the skills required and will ultimately be able to master them and become proficient riders. This is perhaps one of the earliest and most concrete examples of practice helping to build a new skill and is an important lesson for children of all ages.
- Social and Family Time: Outdoor play is very important to the proper development of children. Providing children with appropriate riding toys, such as bikes and tricycles, can provide not only a host of physical benefits, but help with cognitive and mental development and give children a sense of freedom and independence that is hard to match with other toys or experiences. Best of all, it is an activity that the entire family can enjoy together.
For more information about these benefits and the studies that have identified these needs, we recommend you search for the National Trust study on Outdoor Activity, The Seattle Children’s Research Institutes Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, and the USFS Outdoor Recreation study.