As our world becomes more geared towards convenience we are losing the need to step outdoors and teach our children how to enjoy it. With fast food, television and online games taking a president in the modern world, enjoying simple pleasures, such as the great outdoors, has become less enticing. From arts and crafts to fine motor skills, outdoor play is the perfect place for a child to grow and develop.
How Outdoor play is great for early years
Coordination and movement
Playing outdoors often gives children more space to really explore their world and find out more about it. With trees, plants and uneven ground, it also tests their coordination and helps to strengthen bones and muscles. With every small item they interact with, such as a leaf or a rock, they are developing their fine motor skills which are vital for self-care tasks such as dressing or eating. It’s also a lot of fun!
For a child under five, the NHS recommend “at least 180 minutes (3 hours) a day doing a variety of physical activities spread throughout the day, including active and outdoor play. The more the better.” The exercise should include bone-strengthening, muscular and cardiovascular exercises. Examples of all these key exercises could be running in a park, climbing over logs or tree roots and jumping in puddles, a great day outdoors for a child basically. Core strength and balance are also developed by outdoor play which is essential for a child to become a successful writer (I bet you didn’t know that).
Exercise releases serotonin into our bodies, a feel-good chemical that positively affects our mood and outlook. Through play, children can also experience this. According to the Open University’s OPENspace Research Centre, there is considerable evidence suggesting that time spent outdoors, in nature, increases life expectancy, improves wellbeing, reduces symptoms of depression and increases a child’s ability to function in school. All these things are sure to help a child grow and progress in life.
Are you going to do more outdoor play?
Overall being outdoors gives children so much more freedom to capture their imagination and allows them to develop. So, what better excuse to put on some sunscreen, dig out those summer hats and get out into the great outdoors.
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