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Why Outdoor Play Is Important for Your Child's Development

Here is how playing outside can benefit your kids.

The early period in a child's life is considered to be the most crucial developmental phase. During this period, the four areas of development are fundamentally important to the future development of your child. According to the World Health Organisation to grow up healthy, children need to sit less and play more.

Connecting to nature is one of the purest ways to teach and learn about the world. In association with outdoor classroom day, we want to share how learning outdoors can benefit your kids. Active play is the natural and primary way that children learn.

Here are some ways that playing outside can benefit your kids:

It Encourages Free Play

Free play is an opportunity for your kids to explore many of the skills associated with development. Free play allows kids to explore their creativity and sense of imagination, agility and other strengths. It also encourages little ones to overcome their fears and build their confidence because often, the lessons we learn from failure are just as important as those we learn from success. Free play is frequently associated with learning about teamwork and group interactions, so they learn to share and resolve conflicts. Engaging in open and unstructured play also helps kids practise decision-making skills.

It Helps Them to Learn

The world is everchanging, and technology has made information and communication more accessible at the touch of a button. This often means children are less inclined to explore outside, often opting for indoor and sedentary play through technology. We must encourage outdoor play so that children can learn about their surroundings.

Kids learn about the world by exploring it, so encourage making mud pies, digging in the soil, viewing animals in their natural homes, climbing a tree and playing in safe water. The future of our planet depends on our children; they need to learn to appreciate it. Playing outside encourages kids to interact with the world around them, which is how they learn.

It Stimulates Their Motor Skills

The outdoors is the perfect setting to practise throwing, catching, pulling, carrying, lifting, jumping, running and even skipping, which are essential milestones of large motor skills. Outdoor play is typically more rigorous than indoor, which ultimately contribute to the strengthening of muscles and bones essential in motor development.

It Makes Them Happier and Healthier

As with plants, your kids need sunshine to thrive. Playing outdoors increases their exposure to the sun which helps to ensure that kids get enough vitamin D, responsible for multiple areas of health including bone growth, muscle function, and even the timing of puberty. Outdoor light stimulates the pineal gland, the part of the brain responsible for keeping our immune system strong and helping to make us feel happy.

Encourage your kids to explore outdoor activities such as gardening to foster, safe exposure to the sun. It's important to always make sure your kids wear hats and stay hydrated when playing in the sun.

It Helps Kids to Sleep Better and Boost Concentration

It’s important because it is unhealthy for children not to get enough sunlight. The brain tunes its "inner clock" using light cues, so going outdoors can help children maintain healthy sleep rhythms. Children who play outdoors regularly are more curious, self-directed and likely to stay with a task longer.

Often when parents think back to their fondest childhood memories, they go back to moments playing outdoors. These moments are pivotal to our development and often to our identities. Let your children learn and make memories through play by encouraging them to turn the outdoors into a classroom.

Outdoor and messy play encourage kids to learn about the world – inspire your little ones to engage with the planet, and they will learn skills that can benefit us all. From how to save water for kids to activities that encourage recycling, every moment is an opportunity to make a difference.

Source list: https://outdoorclassroomday.co.za/about/ https://news.sanfordhealth.org/childrens/play-outside/ https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/6-reasons-children-need-to-play-outside https://www.parentingscience.com/benefits-of-outdoor-play.html https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2444866416301234 https://www.nct.org.uk/baby-toddler/games-and-play/benefits-outdoor-play https://www.who.int/social_determinants/themes/earlychilddevelopment/en/ https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/children-need-to-sit-less-and-play-more https://www.who.int/topics/early-child-development/en/