Here at Today’s Family, we encourage learning through play. We also put an emphasis on outdoor play. So, you may be wondering, what happens when these two things come together? To answer this we visited some of our child care centres in the Hamilton area.
When we arrived at the Linden Park location, the kids were just about to head outside. Once the boys and girls had their coats zipped up and shoes all tied, out they went. The group split up and everyone found something to do. Some went right to the sandbox, to dig around and load up the dump trucks. All while developing fine motor skills because, as we adults tend to forget, delicate maneuvers like picking up small objects, or dumping sand into a dump truck without spilling, need to be practised.
As for others, they went to splash around in the water bin, and worked together to fill up the pails (which may or may not have been snuck over from the sandbox). With only a few toys to play with here, there was lots of sharing and use of manners. There was lots of “please” and “thank you” from the kids.
With so many options on what to do, many of the children were in constant movement from one activity to another; bouncing back and forth from the music wall, to the bikes to the cars.
Then, out of the blue there was a commotion around the slide. As everyone gathered around we soon saw that one of our friends had spotted a lady bug, which was sitting on the slide. All of the sudden our discovery was on the move, up onto a little hand, then onto the sleeve of one of the preschoolers. This was the perfect time for the group to work on their descriptive words. They said “ It feels weird on my arm.” “ It’s so small!” and “ It’s colourful.”
Near the end of our time outside everybody gathered into a circle, where we watched a puppet show and sang songs. We all imagined that the t-rex was actually friends with the monkeys.
After our time at Linden Park had run out, we headed down to our Dundas location. Shortly after arriving we followed the group out to the playground, although most were drawn to the climber, a few sat down and started building whatever their hearts desired. Using all their creativity they came up with ideas to build many different things! There were houses, cars, towers and much more. Others, who were not interested in waiting in line for a turn on the slide, played tag.Which mostly consisted of running in circles, along with lots of laughing and giggling.
Lastly we peeked our heads into our Greendale location to see what they were up to. And it was as though they knew we were coming, all of our friends were outside getting some fresh air. Not only were they getting fresh air, they were helping out in the garden, well… sort of. The kids were taking turns pushing wheelbarrows back and forth from one end of the path to the other. Some clever minds jumped into the wagon, plopped down, and went for a ride while the teachers pulled them. Even with all the silliness happening there was still a little bit of gardening going on. Our little gardeners were learning all about what plants need to survive. A few helpers had out the shovels and rakes and were making sure the job got done.
Later on, the little ones took some time to relax, the bin of books came out, and everyone grabbed something to flip through and found a spot to sit. When everyone was done with the books, it was sadly time to head inside.
Why Do Children Need Outdoor Play?
Well, besides the obvious reasons – like getting the kids out of the house and off the tablets and ipads, outdoor play has many short and long term benefits which we will list for you.
1. Self regulation
Whether it’s painting pictures, playing with blocks or just playing board games. When kids are able to get outside and roam free and have unstructured play it allows for them to work on self regulation and problem solve with other children, which are skills they will need later on in life.
2. Boosts creativity
By spending time outside, the children are exposed to a whole new environment outside. A whole world with different toys and lots more open space to do whatever their hearts desire. In this world they can be a superhero, a princess or even a police officer. With all the open space their imaginations can run wild and really help work on boosting creativity.
3. Helps children create relationships
In today’s society, technology has taken over, there seems to be an app for essentially everything. By taking away the electronics and sending them outside, it makes it easier for them to talk to new friends and even become closer with friends they have already made.
Also, a big thank you goes out to our Dundas, Linden Park and Greendale locations for letting us play outside with you!
Until next time!