Benefits of Outdoor Play for Children
Updated: Apr 1
When we were much younger, we would always enjoy running around in the outdoors. Be it at a nearby playground, the beach, or a neighbourhood park, the feeling of playing outdoors is just really freeing and extremely fun!
However, as we grow older and become parents ourselves, we seem to have a fear of bringing our kids out to play too often. The pandemic situation that we are currently in does not do much to help sooth our fears and worries either.
Instead of bringing our children out to play, we often hand them an iPad for them to play games or watch YouTube videos. Today, we explore the benefits of outdoor play for children, and why it is important for you to switch out that iPad for an hour of outdoor play!
Benefits of Outdoor Play
1. Sunshine and Vitamin D
When children engage in outdoor play, they will be exposed to the sun. While many parents are afraid of letting their children be in the sun for too long, it is a known fact that our bodies need the sun! Sun exposure is needed for our bodies to make Vitamin D, an essential vitamin that is very important for many of our bodily processes such as bone development and immune system development. Sun exposure is also essential for our children in order for them to get healthy sleep and be in a better mood.
Outdoor play ensures that children get enough sun exposure for Vitamin D! Vitamin D may also help in the fight against Covid-19. According to an article in The Straits Times, multiple studies suggest that having adequate amounts of vitamin D may play a role in helping people stave off or combat the coronavirus.
2. Social Skills
When our children are engaging in outdoor play, they would likely be interacting with other children while playing games. Playing in places like a playground stresses the importance of playing with others. Many times, children make friends with other children after playing together. Even better still, some games that are played outdoors require children to share with others and work together. This way, your child can learn about the importance of teamwork and cooperation!
Outdoor play teaches children social skills that will serve them far beyond their childhood years!
3. Physical Fitness
One way to be sure that your child remains active is to bring them out to play. While exercise can be done at home, outdoor activities such as cycling or throwing or kicking a ball around really gets them active and moving, which is great exercise.
Furthermore, outdoor play definitely allows your kids more freedom as compared to playing indoors. By allowing them to play outside, you would be exposing them to the various physical activities and sports that they may be interested in and they may thank you when they choose to pick up in the future!
Outdoor play is the best way to get children to get active and exercise!
At Nurture Infant House Tampines, we believe that being outdoors gives children more opportunities to be physically active, improves their motor skills, strengthens their immune system and reduces risk of myopia.
4. Better Mental Health
On top of the benefit of improved physical health, outdoor play also helps to improve your child’s mental health. Running around freely and other physical activities can help to decrease one’s anxiety level. It is also widely studied that being outside helps to lower the risk of several behavioural issues such as hyperactivity!
At Nurture Infant House Tampines, we believe that the outdoors is fun, yet calming and makes our children happier.
5. Improved Executive Functioning
Put simply, executive functioning skills are skills that help us to plan, prioritize, solve problems, negotiate, be creative, and multi task. These skills are essential for one’s success in adulthood.
Executive functioning skills can be learned and honed. Outdoor play is one way in which this can be done.
To improve your child’s executive functioning, unstructured playtime is particularly important. This means that your child should be allowed to play freely by themselves or with other children. In unstructured play, they have to be given the chance to play without rules. They can create their own games or run around freely. Basically, there are no rules!
In the outdoors, our children can learn more deeply with their five senses and we can offer more creative ways for learning. Being outdoors also helps children improve their focus to learn better. Outdoor play gives the perfect setting for your child to engage in unstructured play so as to improve his or her executive functioning!
6. Encourage a Love for Nature
Unlike the previous generations, many of the children from the younger generation are not familiar with play activities such as playing in sand pits, playing by the river, climbing hills, or playing with wild animals. They are much more familiar with game applications, the latest game consoles, or which YouTube video is currently trending.
Playing outdoors means being amidst nature. This helps our children appreciate the world for what it is! By allowing your children to play outdoors, you may use the opportunity to teach them about the importance of nature and of taking care of the environment around them.
7. Closer to the Community
With outdoor learning, children learn in a real world context and develop a variety of skills that prepare them not only for the classroom, but also for life. Being outdoors regularly in both urban and natural settings helps children become more connected to the environment and community around them.
Outdoor Play and Nurture Infant House Tampines
If you are looking to place your child in an infant care centre, keep in mind that you should look out for infant care centres that include outdoor play in their curriculum.
At Nurture Infant House Tampines, we are located 1 minute away from a playground, and 5 minutes away from greenery. Outdoor play is literally just a few steps away!
For parents living in the Tampines, Nurture Infant House has had 20 years of experience in caring for your beloved children.
Click here to learn more about our infant care centre!
Feel free to WhatsApp us / https://wa.me/6596664141 for more enquiries.