Well, Spring is here! And minus the one or two flurries that’ll pop up this month, Spring is here to stay! Garden shops are open, flowers are being planted, and at Today’s Family, we’re talking about Outdoor Play. This is something we’ve talked about before, but we think it bears repeating: outdoor play is critical to a healthy child.
In that previous article, we made a list of some good reasons why we love outdoor play here at Today’s Family. But it’s far from a complete list. So here are a couple more reasons why outdoor play is the bee’s knees:
It’s more than Physical Activity
When most people think about Outdoor Play, they think that the main benefit is “blowing off steam.” But Outdoor Play offers many other benefits outside of letting children get rid of some excess energy. Outdoor Play lets children actually experience and interact with the world around them.
That’s why, when we’re designing Outdoor Play areas at our Today’s Family Centres, we put a focus on natural exploration, instead of lots and lots of manufactured play scapes.
Let’s go exploring!
Being outside offers a ton of learning opportunities, if you know where to look. Investigation is the name of the game here: the natural world is always growing and changing, and that lets our children learn about things like natural life cycles and growing plants. Regular outdoor play allows our children to notice changes in their environment over the course of a season.
Bird watching is a good example of what we’re talking about. As birds migrate north after spending the winter in warm and sunny Florida, they’re spotted by our observant children. Listening to all the new bird calls and watching them peck at worms lets us teach about migration, and the changing seasons.
Changing a child’s environment from an indoor to an outdoor one is crucial in developing communication skills, and encouraging interaction among our children. When you change the environment, you change the dynamic. This allows children to engage with each other in new ways. And by offering up a ton of new activities, you’re encouraging children to make new friends and form new bonds in new contexts.
At least, that’s what we noticed when we visited CH Norton’s kindergarten room. We noticed that children who were playing together when they were inside played with different children when they were outside. And this isn’t just a special Burlington thing – this happens in every single Today’s Family centre. Outdoor play lets our children make new friends.
Get those creative juices flowing!
The games we play inside are usually determined by the toys we have in the room. We paint at the art station, we build towers at the LEGO station, and we read in the book centre. But outdoor play is different. When children go outside, they can do anything. A ball can be used to play soccer, or basketball, or catch. It can also be buried in sand, or dropped down a slide.
And this idea has even made it to the adult world. Web developers often create a “sandbox” – a place where they can try new ideas and test new concepts without it impacting current services. And it’s called a “sandbox” for a reason, and that’s because being outside is naturally creative.
Until next time!
– Today’s Family