Today is the first day that we have got a real taste of Spring. The sun is out and it is perfect weather for children to be out in the garden enjoying their climbing frame and making the most of finally being able to play outside. As parents we are always trying to do the right thing and are often bombarded with conflicting information from various different sources. Enjoying the great weather is no different.
As experts in not only climbing frames but also outdoor play equipment we are huge advocates of getting children outside come rain or shine. Our climbing frames come equipped with either fully wooden rooves or UV resistant tarpaulin rooves to protect them from most weather eventualities. However, allowing children a certain amount of exposure to the sun could in fact be beneficial.
Of course climbing frames, playhouses or any outdoor play equipment encourages children to keep active and keep healthy but it also encourages them to get out into the sunshine. As parents it may feel like we are constantly being bombarded with conflicting advice on how to raise our children. For years the practice was to slap on the sun cream, hide them in the shade and make sure they were never left exposed to the sun, but now we are being told to make sure they get enough sun. A recent study carried out by Bristol University showed that children with lower levels of vitamin D were more likely to experience depressive symptoms. Vitamin D is mainly created through the action of sunlight on skin although can it can also be found in some oily fish. Researchers looked at more than 2700 children when they were at the ages of 9 and 12. Those who had higher levels of Vitamin D showed a decline in depressive symptoms in their teenage years.
So what does Vitamin D do? Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorous. It has been suggested that Vitamin D works to prevent colds and flu, build strong bones and teeth and even prevent allergies and juvenile diabetes. There is continued research being carried out which may suggest that healthy levels of Vitamin D reduce the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Although these are yet to be confirmed.
Several British health organisations recently released a joint statement suggesting how much time spent in the sun is sufficient to obtain healthy Vitamin D levels. The suggestion is between 10-15 minutes in the UK summer sun several times a week. Of course it is a personal choice and skin should never be exposed to so much sun that it begins to redden or burn.
With the increase in the use of electronic toys and various gadgets all of our lives have become more sedentary. It can be difficult to schedule in time to take our children for a walk or to the park so a climbing frame in our own back garden is an ideal way to ensure our children are making the most of the great weather and getting the most out of the sunshine. Of course any outdoor toy that gets them moving and out into the fresh air is great. There are some days when only a DVD or a few games on the Play station will do but days like today cannot be wasted indoors.