July 11, 2017

Lets Go Outside - Benefits of Outdoor Play

Playing outside is one of the greatest joys of childhood, but it also serves a larger purpose than just being a way to have a good time.

Benefits of Outdoor Play for Toddlers

One thing that I love about Morley’s daycare is that they are always outside. Some days, we will secretly arrive a bit early for pick up so that we can watch her interact with her new friends at the playground. We usually get a few minutes to stand back and watch before we are spotted and play time is over. It really gives us an appreciation for how much she has grown the past five months since she has started there. It also gives us an appreciation for outdoor play.

Benefits of Outdoor Play for Toddlers
Benefits of Outdoor Play for Toddlers

When I think back to my own childhood, some of my fondest memories are from time spent outdoors. Whether it was swimming in the lake, camping with family or just playing in the backyard with friends, outdoors was the place the be. As kids, being outdoors just seemed like the natural thing to do. 

As an adult, I have now learned that child’s play is not just all fun and games. The act of play itself is a crucial component in the growth and development of the brain, body and intellect. And what better setting to play than the outdoors? 

Benefits of Outdoor Play for Toddlers

Because of my own childhood experience, my current field of work and my own daughter, I am a huge advocate for outdoor play. (The messier, the better.) These are just some of the many reasons why you should be too. 

Importance of Outdoor Play

Physical Benefits

Playing outside is a good way for your child to get some exercise. Outside play helps children to gain motor skills and increase strength, balance and flexibility. Walking, running, jumping, stomping and rolling also improve physical development so that he gains muscle strength and builds strong bones. Being outdoors also helps strengthen a child’s immune system. 

Mental and Emotional Benefits

Playing outside allows children free time to pursue activities they enjoy, which make them happy and less stressed and increases self-esteem. Taking a break to go and play outside will also help to increase focus in the classroom and reduce potential behavioural problems. 

Being outside leads to a connection with nature. Because the natural world is filled with beautiful sights, sounds, and textures, it's the perfect resource for the development of aesthetics in young children.

Cognitive Benefits

Playing improves a child's memory, thinking skills and ability to learn as they explore the world around them. It introduces them to new sights, sounds, textures, smells and, maybe even, tastes. Bring outdoors allows children to make choices, see how things work and use their imaginations. It also teaches independent learning, as toddlers are just learning the meaning of sharing.

Social Benefits

While outdoor play teachers a child to be independent, when children play outside with others, they learn about relationships and inclusion, and how to behave as a member of a group. Spending time outside as part of a larger group of children allows children to make friends, resolve conflicts and express feelings. They also learn how to follow rules, and gain self-control skills.

So, take the children outside to play. It's a wonderful way to spend the day! 

What is your favourite outdoor activity? I’d love to hear!

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