Outdoor play - an easy way to promote health and learning for kids

Recently, my husband and I took our nearly two-year-old son on a nature walk. We found a quiet stream and sat along the edge. We began tossing pebbles in the stream and our son quickly became interested in doing the same. He was so intrigued with the impact the different sizes of pebbles made on the water and the splashes they produced. It brought me back to my childhood and how simple outdoor activities are some of my favorite memories. This made me realize that I want my son to have plenty of outdoor play opportunities so he can enjoy the natural environment as I did as a child.

Outdoor play has many benefits for children of all ages. Here are just a few:

Promotes Learning

Children naturally love to explore and discover new things. Nature provides a great environment for them to discover how the world works and natural processes. It also gives children a chance to take the lead in what they are interested in and want to learn more about.

Physical Activity

Outdoor play has been found to increase levels of physical activity in children. Play in natural environments or on play structures gives them the opportunity to learn how to move their body and take risks. Giving children opportunities to explore outdoor environments helps them develop coordination, agility, and balance.

Promotes Better Sleep

Studies have shown that children who play outside sleep better through the night. Some contributing factors are physical activity, stress reduction, and exposure to natural light.

Social Interactions

Spending unstructured time with peers outdoors can help children learn how to work and play together by creatively collaborating with one another. Structured settings such as schools have their place, but outdoor play has an essential role in developing social skills.

Stress Relief

Today's world is more hectic than ever. Children are experiencing greater stress at younger ages. An aid to stress is spending time outdoors. Studies have shown that time spent in nature is associated with reduced stress. This gives children an opportunity to take a break and enjoy their environment.

These are just a few of the many benefits of outdoor play for kids. Outside play can be very simple and unstructured, or you can plan fun activities to do together. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Visit local parks or splash pads during the summer.
  • Go on a nature scavenger hunt and collect common outdoor items such as leaves and pinecones.
  • Play with chalk.
  • Go on a bike ride.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Visit a local farm or petting zoo.
  • Check out this post for creative outdoor activity ideas you can do from your own backyard.
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Thursday, 29 September 2022

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