Why children need to play outside

Why children need to play outside

Many children have never experienced traditional childhood activities like making daisy-chains, building sandcastles or playing in a forest.

Despite the popularity of Peppa Pig, so many children never get to jump in muddy puddles or play in mud.

The outdoors is the best place for children to practice and master physical skills, build up their immune systems and practise problem solving skills. Indeed, whether they’re trying to figure out the best way to build a fort or learning how to get along with friends, children who play outside learn how to solve real life problems.

It has been proven that children who play outside develop better language skills, are fitter and have fewer behavioural problems too. In fact, research shows that children use five times as many words when they play outdoors compared to indoors, and that there’s a direct correlation between obesity and lack of time spent outside.

Traditional outdoor pursuits also teach children about respecting and enjoying nature and animals. Yet so many children have never planted their own seeds to grow plants or flowers from scratch. Animal spotting is also becoming less popular, children often have never looked for birds, made daisy chains or picked blackberries.

It is difficult as a parent working to juggle spare time around children playing outside. With so little spare time it’s sometimes easier to keep them in the safe setting of the house.

Personally I can’t stand being in all day. Whatever the weather we head out even in the rain and snow. I’m a strong believer in knocking the walls down.

Top tips for getting children to enjoy the great outdoors

Add focus – children love a mission, so try spotting plants and animals on your walk or do a treasure hunt to add some purpose to your walk.

Don’t rush – take the time to dawdle, jump in puddles and notice the signs of the seasons together and you’re guaranteed to build some memories that will last a lifetime.

Camp out – if you have a back garden, or a friend with one, why not camp out with your children? Or, if they’re older, let them do it alone?

Enjoy simple pleasures – many of the greatest pleasures are very simple, such as skimming stones, making daisy chains or blowing a grass whistle.

Be nature detectives – a nature scavenger hunt is a great way to explore your back garden, neighbourhood or any green space. A bug hunt can work well too or what about a hunt from some unusual creatures, have a look at this post on reptiles from girls gospel.

Get crafty – children are natural collectors, so encourage them to collect everything from pine cones to leaves for a home craft project. Stone collecting is so popular and encourages children to get out walking.

2 thoughts on “Why children need to play outside

  1. I love this post. I can’t imagine a childhood without dirty hands, collecting all sorts of treasure and stashing it in my pockets (I still do this).
    We need to nurture the next generation of carers of our planet and wildlife.

    1. I really enjoyed writing this one. It’s so important for not just the children’s mental health but that adults too. Getting outside even for 5 minutes can make you all feel so much better.

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