In recent years, the digital age has caused kids to gravitate from the treehouse to the tablet – even in some child care facilities. While computers and technology have their place in children’s play and education, it shouldn’t replace the more fundamental components of it – such as getting outside and enjoying the fresh air.
Of course, many parents want to protect their children from the dangers of climbing trees and riding bicycles on concrete, but outdoor play can be more beneficial than it is dangerous. If you’re not yet convinced that getting back to basics with outdoor play is the best idea, here are a few of the many benefits.
It Allows Them to Get Creative
With most indoor play, children are bound by what specific activities require them to do. For example, puzzle pieces must go in one place, and children must play games on tablet devices in one set way to win. However, with outdoor play, there’s no “set” approach. The world is their oyster, giving them the opportunity to create their own fun and entertainment in the way they see fit. The big tree can become a pirate ship or a castle, and the grass can be hot lava or vast oceans. Creativity has no bounds when you’re outside playing – be it at home or in a child care facility.
It’s Good for Their Health
It’s never good for anyone to remain cooped up inside all day, and children are no exception. There are so many health benefits associated with outdoor play, which is why it’s such a significant part of child care routines. When children are outside, they are more likely to run around. Inside, running is often not allowed due to the many obstacles. Running around outside helps them to burn off energy, remain fit, and benefit from strong, healthy bones. What’s more, they are getting a healthy dose of Vitamin D. Just remember to slip, slop, slap, and wrap during those warmer months.
Benefits their Social Skills
An indoors environment with a lot of children can be quite intimidating, especially for a shy child. In an outdoor setting, however, there is more space which can be helpful for children to build their social skills. In an outdoors environment – particularly at a child care facility, children are likely to feel more comfortable about joining in with play. As a result, they will learn how to make friends and adjust to social situations.
They Learn to Explore
There’s no denying that playing outdoors comes with a more prominent risk profile, but with the correct adult supervision, you will find the benefits can far outweigh the risks. Children learn their limits and risk assessment by actively engaging in play. If they aren’t able to explore and try new things in an outdoor setting without adult intervention, they may not form the confidence to do so in later life.
Both indoor and outdoor play have their benefits, but you are sure to be amazed by the many benefits on offer for children who engage in fun outdoors. Don’t be afraid to head outdoors with the kids and watch them play. The fresh air, change of scenery, and wide open spaces can work wonders.