Here at Tiptoes, we love outdoor play time. And we know your children do too. There are few more satisfying sites for our staff than seeing all the children in their care playing freely outdoors when the weather is good.
But outdoor play is much more than just a great way to have fun. Did you know it is considered vital for your child’s development too? Here are six reasons experts give for making outdoor play a regular activity for growing kids.
Great range of sensory experiences
The outdoors, both in a natural setting and the built environment, offers a vast amount of sensory information that requires your baby or toddler to use all of their senses to experience it.
The outdoors offers babies, toddlers and young children so much to see, explore and learn, that it has a profound effect on how they use their senses to understand the world around them.
Developing motor skills
Being outdoors gives babies and toddlers the space to be able to do lots of different activities they wouldn’t be able to do in the home. They can crawl and toddle further, hold on to things, roll, and move in ways they wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity to do.
If they’re at a playground, then whole-body activities such as swinging gets them to use and coordinate a lot of different muscles.
As they age, they can run, jump, and do all sorts of activities that could not do indoors, meaning the more youngsters get outside, the better motor skills and coordination they develop.
Helps your child sleep at night
It’s no coincidence that babies and toddlers that get outside and play sleep better at night, giving parents that much needed rest. But don’t just take our word for it. There’s plenty of research to show that fresh air and sunshine during the day leads to less tears and tantrums at night.
So, what other reason do you need?!
Encouraging a healthy lifestyle
Babies and toddlers who have fun experiences in the outdoors will carry those memories for life. And there’s a good chance those early experiences will help them build a lifelong love of the outdoors.
This is a great way to ensure they learn the value and benefits of fresh air and exercise and increase the chance of them living a long and healthy life.
A lot of outdoor play takes place in places such as one of our nursery gardens, or a local playground, where there are other children about.
Not only does this encourage your child to be sociable and make friends, it also teaches them valuable lessons about how to interact with other people, such as sharing, being polite and kind, cooperating, and how to treat other people.
They will carry these lessons with them for life.
Although this might feel counter-intuitive for parents, outdoor play presents opportunities for children to take controlled risks.
If children are prevented from taking controlled risks, they’re less likely to be able to make decisions when they’re older and could suffer from a lack of confidence.
But controlled risks like riding a bike without stabilisers, playing on playground rides, climbing trees, or trying to make new friends can help them to develop mental strength and understand the consequences of certain actions.
So, with all these benefits, it’s no wonder here at Tiptoes we love to encourage outdoor play. And with spring upon us and summer just around the corner, you can be confident your children will be getting outdoors at every opportunity they get!