As temperatures drop, some parents may be wondering how to get their kids outside for some healthy outdoor play.
Below, we share tips on fun outdoor activities you can do and explain why playing outside can help your child’s vision.
How Outdoor Play Impacts Myopia
Studies have shown that children who spend at least 11 hours per week outside during daylight hours have a slower rate of myopia progression than children who don’t. Although researchers aren’t exactly sure why, it appears that sunlight and the child’s use of distance vision outdoors may play a role.
So why would parents want to slow down their child’s myopia? The answer may surprise you.
Having myopia in childhood places the child at heightened risk for developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life. These include cataracts, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, and glaucoma.
3 Outdoor Activities to Do With Your Kids This Winter
Play With Snow
Whether you have a toddler or a teenager, playing with snow is something that everyone can enjoy. Bundle up your child so they stay safe and warm, and send them out to build a snowman, have a snowball fight, build an igloo, or make a snow angel. Older children and teens may enjoy building a snow maze.
If your kids like a bit of competition, you can conduct a snow castle building contest. This activity can be fun for the entire family!
If you don’t have enough snow to build a snowman or castle, you can play tic-tac-snow on the snow-covered ground.
Sledding and tobogganing are classic winter activities that your child will love. All you need is a sled and a snowy hill — easy, right?
But before you soar down those snowy slopes, here are some guidelines that will ensure a safer sledding experience:
- Use a sled that can be steered and has a brake
- Protect your head with a helmet
- Dress warmly, but leave your scarf at home, as it can get caught under the sled
- Children under the age of 6 should always sled accompanied by an adult
Create Outdoor Art
This activity is perfect for kids who like to get a little messy. To make a colorful masterpiece on a canvas of snow, give your child a few squirt bottles filled with water and a few drops of food coloring gel. They’ll have heaps of fun squirting the colored liquid on snow or ice.
They can also paint on snow using watercolors and a paintbrush.
If it doesn’t snow where you live, you can always give your child some sidewalk chalk and let them get creative on the pavement. The important thing is to have your child play outdoors.
At South Coast Optometry, our goal is to help slow down your child’s myopia progression and keep their eyes healthy for a lifetime.
To learn more about our myopia management program or to schedule your child’s eye exam, call us today!
South Coast Optometry serves patients from Costa Mesa, Orange County, Newport Beach, Irvine, and throughout California.