Research has concluded that there are many benefits to outdoor play for children. Here are just seven:
1. Educational outdoor activities change children’s mindset towards learning. Instead of thinking of learning as an activity only done in the classroom, children are encouraged to think of learning as an ongoing process that can take place anywhere.
2. Outdoor play encourages creativity. Children’s imaginations are stimulated by the objects around them. There is no limit to imagination when children are outside versus in the confinement of indoors.
3. There are health benefits to playing outside. Children who play outside are generally more active, which increases bone strength and fitness levels. The outdoors also exposes children to sunshine, which allows them to absorb Vitamin D.
4. Children who play outside are more social. Indoor play spaces are generally more crowded than outdoors. Outdoor play allows children to come out of their shells and interact with others.
5. Outdoor play makes children happier and calmer. Vitamin D from the sun helps to improve moods and increase positivity. Outdoor play also allows children to get rid of built up energy, which makes them calmer.
6. Outdoor play increases independence. Children who play outdoors are often not under direct adult supervision, which allows them to learn to play by themselves and navigate unfamiliar equipment.
7. Outdoor play makes children more confident. Outdoor play equipment can help children become good at risk assessment as they learn to push their boundaries. Children who play outdoors explore and become confident in trying new things.
For more information about the benefits of outdoor play, visit: https://www.fawns.co.uk/blog-posts/seven-benefits-outdoor-play-children/
Here are some ideas for how to get your child outside for playtime:
1. Visit a playground. Many neighborhoods have playgrounds, or try visiting a local elementary school playground outside of school hours.
2. Host a water balloon fight. Fill up a bunch of balloons with water and invite friends to play!
3. Make a chalk obstacle course. Write out a list of motor movements such as “hop on one leg,” “walk like a bear,” “twirl 3 times.”
4. Create a scavenger hunt. For older kids, you can write out items you want them to find. For younger kids, try taping items such as wood chips, dandelions, leaves, and pebbles to a piece of paper and have the children look for them.
5. Slip n Slide. Always a fun option, especially in Texas heat!
6. Design a fairy house. Read the book “Fairy Houses” (https://www.amazon.com/Fairy-Houses-®/dp/0970810458 ) to your children and then have them make their own fairy house out of outdoor material like rocks, twigs, and flowers.
7. Rock art. Collect rocks and have your kid paint them for use as garden decorations, paperweights, or pet rocks.
For more ideas for outdoor activities, visit: https://www.signupgenius.com/home/outdoor-activities-for-kids.cfm