The Benefits of Outdoor Play!
Many of us have great childhood memories of playing outdoors – I know I do! Running around, climbing trees, building dens, making mud pies and inventing new games that kept us occupied for hours – these are all things that contribute to a happy, healthy upbringing.
The chance to connect with the natural world; first hand experiences of life and growth; endless opportunities for creativity and imagination; improved fitness and physical development – the countless benefits of outdoor play have a real positive impact on children's lives. This is awe and wonder at its very best!
Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage benefit from spending a lot of time outside, whatever the weather. This makes a significant contribution to the progress they make particularly in their personal, emotional, social and physical development.
Try not to let bad weather put you off, play needn’t be spoiled by a bit of rain. In fact, children are usually less worried by a little cold and rain than their parents, especially if they’re running around and keeping warm! If it’s wet and muddy outside, why not dress them in old clothes and wellies and let them splash around in puddles!
At Kindred we believe in the benefits of fresh air and physical activity every day. We have created safe and stimulating outdoor environment in all our nurseries!
Play for children is most rewarding when they start it themselves, and it doesn’t take much to spark a child’s imagination. Given half a chance children will throw themselves into outdoor play at every opportunity. The outdoors are full of open-ended resources that stimulate children's imaginations. For example, a stone could be buried pirate treasure, a plate for a pixie, food for bear, a wall for a castle, a car for a bug or many other things. We have some fantastic loose parts resources in all our gardens, the children have access to old tyres, pots and pans ,fir cones pebbles, shells, bark chippings for endless imaginative play. We also have a digging area in most of our nurseries, where the children can plant vegetables and nurture them to grow and then cook them for a tasting experience. We recently asked our families what we should grow in our Les Enfants veggie patch!
Children are motivated to talk during stimulating experiences and being outdoors gives the children plenty to talk about. As childcare practitioners we are trained to extend children’s play with open ended questions to support learning As practitioners we understand the value of these experiences. At every opportunity we promote high-quality talk that develops the children's confidence and their speaking and listening skills. We are passionate about creating awe and wonder in every moment!
Playful parenting tips:
- Do let them enjoy physical challenges like climbing trees. Children learn through taking risks.
- Don’t be too over-protective if the worst that can happen is a bump or a scrape. Allow children to test and stretch themselves . Remember, small risks are an essential part of play, which often means mastering new tasks or conquering fears. This is an important part of developing new skills and independence. The key is knowing the risks involved and balancing them with all the benefits and rewards of playing outdoors.
- Do get outdoors and play, in all weathers! It’s healthy and if they get dirty or wet, well that’s what baths and washing machines are for!
- Do think of the things you most enjoyed as a child - the chances are your kids will enjoy them just as much!
- When they have ideas of their own, encourage the children to develop them and see where they can take them
Not yet a family at one of our lovely nurseries? We have nurseries in Bromley, Bournemouth, Hanwell and Teddington.
Come and take a look around - we would love to show you some of our awe and wonder moments!