Outdoor play is highly beneficial to children and provides an opportunity for children to learn skills that as adults, we take for granted. Outdoor play could be in the backyard, at a park, playground, the beach or the countryside. It allows kids to engage in new or old favourite activities such as hide and seek, building mud pies, playing in the sandpit, making sandcastles or going on imaginary adventures with friends. The possibilities for fun and learning are endless!
Our Top 4 Benefits of Outdoor Play
1. Healthier Kids
The outdoors is a giant play room and with more room to play children can be more active. Running, jumping, throwing balls, catching etc require gross motor skills and hand eye coordination which improve with practice. These activities also helps them burn off extra energy and helps build strong bones, muscles and fitness.
2. Happier Kids
Sun exposure (even in Winter) is a natural way to build up Vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D helps us to feel happy and regulate our moods. Vitamin D is also important for healthy bones and teeth, helps support the health of our immune system and can even improve sleep!
SAD (seasonal affective disorder) happens when we don’t get enough Vitamin D, leaving us feeling depressed, tired and run down. Just 30 minutes play outside each day can help prevent this. (Remember to slip, slop, slap and wrap during the Summer months!)
3. Social and Emotional Development
Unstructured outdoor play lets our children make their own choices and decisions which in turn helps them to become confident and happy decision makers. Outdoor play provides an opportunity for kids to learn how to take turns and share, deal with conflict, negotiate, cooperate with and encourage others. Emotional development is the understanding of feelings in oneself and others and is important as it enables children to learn how their actions affect others.
4. Promotes Creativity and Imagination
Unstructured outdoor play also promotes creativity and imagination. Children can think freely, create their own activities and games and use their imagination to problem-solve and entertain themselves. These are all skills which need to be learned and practised.
Even in Winter there is no excuse to stay inside! Just make sure your child is dressed appropriately and they can still get outdoors, explore, learn and have fun!
And just because it’s raining doesn’t mean the day should be boring! Mud Mates has 25 BOREDOM BUSTING outdoor rainy-play ideas that’ll have your kids squealing with delight.
Grab a copy of our free A4 printable ‘25 Best Things to do in the Rain’ here.
Mud Mates have a great range of NZ-made protective over-garments to keep kids clean, dry and warm on their messy play and outdoor adventures.
Shop online now and use coupon BIZZEBEE for 10% off storewide.