Six Great Benefits of Outdoor Play for Children
It’s no secret that the average child doesn’t play outside as much as they used to. We’ve all read stories trying to boil down the causes; computer games, diminishing park space, worries about safety. That said, there are still so many advantages to playing outdoor, benefits that its important not to forget.
Many of us may already be well-versed in the benefits of outdoor play, whether in the back garden or a more public area. For those that aren’t, or for those who want a bit of a refresher, we’ve put together a few thoughts on some of the benefits of outdoor play, something we’ll always be passionate about, whether it’s on some of our fantastic play equipment, or simply rolling around on the grass or chasing a butterfly. Anyway, enough of our day dreams, here are the list of benefits:
The outdoor environment is one that provides children with a host of learning opportunities. Not only is it far more varied than even the most creative home environment, but it lets children be out increasing their experience of the world around them from within safe boundaries. Even while using outdoor play equipment in their back garden, a child can be taking in a hundred different sights, sounds and smells from the world around them, whether consciously or subconsciously.
There’s always room for creativity in the home if you put the work into providing play and craft opportunities, but still, there’s something about stepping outside of the confines of a building that opens up the imagination and the creativity even further. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a day out at the beach, a walk through a forest or enjoying garden play at home, they all unlock creativity. Skills like problem solving, role play and artistic tasks take on a whole new level in the outdoors, especially for a child.
Being outdoors has a host of familiar health benefits, from the Vitamin D of the sun, to just getting a bit of fresh air. But beyond that, there’s also the psychological benefit of making outdoor physical activity appealing. Patterns of behaviour are formed over time, and if you can instil in childhood years just how enjoyable outdoor activity is, then that could have lifelong benefits. So even something as simple as a couple of pieces of garden play equipment can get children building that positive association.
With outdoor space usually being less crowded and confined than indoors, it can actually have a subconsciously calming effect on many children, particularly in terms of developing social relationships. Playing outside, whether in small groups or larger groups, give children a new set of social opportunities and interactions to work out, whether its navigating past another child on a garden climbing frame, or a playing a team sports game on an outdoor field with the teamwork, rule following, motor skills and creative thinking that brings.
Alongside opening the doors to increased learning and creativity, stepping outside indoor confines gives a sense of growing independence to a youngster. Obviously this needs to be managed, there’s a reason they don’t set off on their first solo day trip as a toddler, but that managed extension of independence is healthy for any child, and in many ways healthy for a parent/guardian.
Psychologically, the sense of space and new interactions offered by an outdoor environment has an empowering effect on a child. Even if your monitoring is actually closer to them physically than you are in the house, there’s something about being out and about that helps a child increase their comfort with independence as they explore for themselves.
Following on from the last point, essentially the big standout benefit of the outdoors is the ability to explore. Whether they’re exploring the surroundings of the natural world, exploring their skills and abilities in new settings, or exploring new social dynamics in a more expansive environment, there’s so much at play. This creates a great opportunity to enjoy play and learning together, especially with the range of playground equipment that can be enjoyed in gardens, parks and schools.
So, if that’s got you thinking about all the benefits of outdoor play, why not take a look through some of the many exciting outdoor equipment pieces available at www.creativeplayuk.com