Friday, 13 May 2016

5 Reasons Children need Outdoor Play


When we think of play, we might think of unnecessary silliness, fun, & games, but do we think of play as an essential learning activity for young children? Many studies have been done on the importance of play for young children’s development, but just as important is play in the outdoors. If you think back to your fondest childhood memories, I’m sure you will think of at least a few outdoor places and activities that played a major role in your childhood. Little did you know at the time, but playing outside was helping you develop essential life skills that you use to this day! Here are 5 reasons children need outdoor play.

  1. Develops Gross Motor Skills. By playing outdoors, kids have the space to jump, leap, skip, run, crawl, and more. These activities help to develop the gross motor skills, as well as coordination and balance.
  2. Develops Social & Communication Skills. Of course self-directed play is important, but when children are playing with others they learn important skills such as how to behave in a group, how to effectively communicate with others, and more. Inventing games and figuring out rules is important to developing good communication and social skills.
  3. Stimulates the Senses. Being outdoors introduces children to a world of new sensory experiences! Bright lights and dark shadows, a rainbow of colours, the smell of grass, rain, dirt, and flowers, feeling mud between your fingers or the rough bark on a tree.. Playing outside lets children experience sensory stimulus they may otherwise not have a chance to experience - developing their appreciation for natural beauty and their vocabulary as well.
  4. Vitamin D & Sunlight. Some studies have linked exposure to natural light with better sleeping habits in infants. Exposure to sunlight also gets children their much needed doses of the essential vitamin D.
  5. Encourages Safe & Supervised Risk Taking. While many parents sometimes feel the need to over-protect their children, risk taking is an important and inevitable part of life. Teaching children when they are young how to navigate risk and stay safe, allows them to use these skills later in life. Evaluating risk is an essential skill that can be learned through play and practiced like any other skill.

Getting children outdoors improves their lives, health, and wellbeing. It’s easy to put them in front of the TV when you’re busy, but allowing them time to play outdoors will benefit them beyond what we could outline here! Who knows, maybe you’ll join in the outdoor play and experience some of these benefits for yourself!

About Discovery Child Care
Barrie Based Discovery Child Care brings nature into the classroom and takes the classroom into nature, offering an environmentally aware foundation of early learning for children, from infants to school-age. We follow an Emergent Curriculum philosophy which means, your child will be provided with hands-on, play-based learning opportunities that will encourage active exploration, autonomy, choice, problem solving and plain old fun! Your child’s individual interests, abilities and needs will be considered when planning our indoor and outdoor programs. For more information, visit http://www.discoverychild.on.ca

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