Outdoor Play: Games, Learning and Resources
The biggest mistake parents or teachers can make is to use outdoor play as a treat or a prize for good behaviour. Outdoor play is a necessity. Every single child needs to play outside every single day whenever possible, even if it’s just for 5 minutes! Outdoor play offers endless benefits that will help children develop necessary skills, connect with the world, care for the environment and develop healthy habits.
“A child cannot bounce off the walls if there are no walls”
Main benefits of outdoor play
Release energy and self-regulation
Our body is naturally active, specially children’s bodies! Playing outside in larger spaces allows them to freely move and burn all the energy they have trapped so they feel better and automatically regulate their emotions just by releasing that energy.
Connection with the environment
We only really care for things that matter to us, that are meaningful for us. We only have one planet and we need to mind it so it is very important that we build that connection with our environment from day one so we can understand the importance of looking after it.
Confidence and self esteem
Taking risks, playing with friends, racing others, falling and getting back up… all these activities need to happen in order to build our confidence and self-esteem, and they need to happen in the outdoor world. It is very important that we also understand this as parents so we can keep our kids safe but, at the same time, we can let them take risks like climb a tree or jump from a swing. This is ESSENTIAL for their development!
Gross motor skills (body control)
We only get one body and we need to mind it. Playing outdoors creates healthy habits in children as well as it allows them to develop all the necessary physical skills like walking, jumping or running, but also falling without breaking their arm, stopping fast when they are about to crash, kicking a ball, throwing things into a hoop (I still throw the veggies into the bin from afar when I cook dinner!). You would be amazed at the amount of physical and gross motor skills you use every day!
Social skills and problem solving
Playing outside is such a powerful activity to socialise, make friends and solve problems with others. Children will interact with other children or adults, create games and rules, have arguments and find solutions. These experiences allow children to become more empathetic, understanding and flexible with others. They will make new friends, they will get to know themselves better (as they build their confidence and self esteem), and they will develop a sense of belonging in this world and in their community.
Games and Resources
|1. Easy Grip Ball||2. Step-a-stones||3. Basketball stand||4. Dancing ribbons|
|1. Tuff Tray||2. Tuff Tray Stand|
|1. Chalk eggs||2. Gardening sets||3. Sand tools|
Free Play: Run, Jump, Balance, Crawl
|1. Giant bubbles||2. Skipping rope||3. Giant frisbee||4. Hopperz|
|1. Jumbo magnifier||2. Buckets||3. Binoculars|
|1. Splat mat||2. Erzi pretend food||3. Tum Tum bottles|
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