There are virtually no limits to the benefits that outdoor play can have for children. Outside, children have the space to explore and learn unhindered by the confines of indoors. There are different sets of rules for outdoor play – children can be as loud as they like and run as fast as they want to! They can climb, jump, skip or roll around and get as messy as they need to!
With today’s record levels of childhood obesity outdoor play has never been more important for ensuring children’s healthy development. Encouraging children to be active when they’re young can improve their health throughout life. Fresh air and exercise encourages development and stimulates brain cells.
Outdoor play helps children to develop their coordination and gain control of their bodies through running, jumping and climbing. They gain more confidence in their abilities and a stronger self image.
Outdoor play gives children the opportunity to use all of their senses. Nature provides a variety of sights, smells and textures. Exploring the environment fosters children’s natural curiosity about the world and makes them active learners.
Responsibility and Risk Taking
Outdoor play exposes children to more choices and risks than play indoors. This teaches children responsibility and they learn to identify and avoid danger, helping to keep them safe.
How to enjoy the outdoors
- Spend time in your garden with your child. Plant herbs and vegetables and watch them grow. Look for mini beasts with magnifying glasses.
- If you don’t have a garden, go on a nature walk locally and collect leaves and other natural items to make collages.
- Make use of your local park.
- Don’t be afraid of the bad weather we so often have! Wrap up warm and allow children to experience the full range of seasonal weather.
- Choose a nursery with quality and extensive outdoor play spaces for them to learn and grow.