What is Outdoor Play
Children are naturally attracted to outdoor play and outdoor play has many advantages: it allows them to explore their environment, develop muscle strength and coordination, and gain self-confidence.
Active outdoor play also increases flexibility, fine motor skills and gross motor skills, and is linked to the development of a wide variety of physical skills, including those related to sport.
Children have a great need for physical exercise and physical activity and the ability to use their muscles to run, swing, jump, skate and cycle, and be in the fresh air and sun. They like to use their whole body when playing outside (so make sure your child is dressed for the weather) and find these physical activities interesting and stimulating.
When children are pushed into a swing, or when they propel a swing themselves, they engage all their muscles to hold, balance and coordinate their bodies to the rhythm of the back and forth movements. Swing allows children to gain first-hand knowledge and experience of causes and effects and to understand spatial learning, such as movement up and down and back and forth. In addition, by swinging, children have the chance to see the world from a new point of view. For added comfort and safety, use a swing with a back support and a child restraint. For the little ones, start slowly and push from the front, so that your face is visible. Play a peek-a-boo game for even more fun!
From games on iPads to television, via Play stations and other video games, not to mention the Internet, more and more children spend the majority of their time indoors, becoming sedentary from a young age.
The increase in the number of children who spend a predominant time indoors has led to the publication of numerous studies highlighting the negative impact this has on their health and development. At the same time, this research has highlighted the benefits of outdoor play for children of all ages. So, if you want to introduce your child to outdoor games, here are some advantages that you should certainly know.
Outdoor games to learn
Playing outside helps children develop their learning skills. By installing educational materials outside, children learn quickly by playing, which is a fun way to help children discover new information while learning new skills. In addition to this, outdoor learning encourages children to think that learning is an ongoing process rather than just being done in the classroom.
Outdoor games for the creative mind
Outdoor play is ideal for encouraging children’s creativity. Far from the constraints and confines of indoor play, being outside the imagination of children is often stimulated by the objects around them and they quickly take advantage of their creativity. So, by installing a sandbox or a trampoline in the garden, you are investing in your child’s personal development while making them discover the meaning of creativity.
Outdoor games for health
Playing outside offers many health benefits for playing outside. With more space to play, children are often more active outdoors, which helps them develop strong bones and good fitness levels, while allowing them to burn more energy and calories. On top of that, being exposed to the sun, even in winter, means that children naturally absorb vitamin D naturally, a lack of which can lead to rickets.
Development on the sociable side
As outdoor spaces are generally less crowded than inside, they are less intimidating and help children to come out of their shells naturally and be more sociable. This means that children will be more willing to participate in games and activities, while they will be more likely to talk to different children and make new friends. All of this encourages children to acquire a certain ease of adaptation and to interact with other children far from the supervision of an adult.
Wayne Probert is a senior reporter at Zobuz, covering state and national politics, and he is a grantee with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Before joining Zobuz, he worked as a freelance journalist in Kentucky, having been published by dozens of outlets including NPR, the Center for Media.