How outdoor play can improve children’s wellbeing
With spring on its way and the weather getting warmer it is the ideal time for children start playing outdoors again. There are lots of opportunities to encourage children to play outside – at school children make full use of their break times by playing on playground equipment, while at the weekends public parks offer the perfect place for parents to take children. It is important to encourage children to play outdoors on a regular basis, as it not only gives them a break from being cooped up indoors, but also improves all areas of their wellbeing.
Improves health and fitness
Playing outdoors significantly helps to improve children’s health and fitness, which has a huge impact on their wellbeing. Playing outside usually provides children with more space to move around and this gives them a chance to be more active. As well as this, outdoor play equipment often includes fitness orientated equipment that not only encourages children to be active but can help to improve their strength and helps to strengthen their growing bones. Being outdoors on a regular basis can also help improve children’s general health as it allows them to get fresh air and healthy exposure to the sun, which ensures their bodies get the vitamin D they need.
Helps to destress
Today children are under pressures that previous generations have not had to face. The desire to perform well in exams, along with being exposed to the adult world at a younger age through modern technology, has led to children facing stressful situations at a younger age. Playing outdoors can help to reduce this stress as it gives children a chance to play with limited supervision in a safe environment where they can release excess energy. Being outdoors also gives children the chance to play in natural sunlight that helps to increase their positivity and feel more energised.
There is a strong link between creativity and intelligence and research has shown that being outdoors, especially close to nature, helps to increase creativity. A creative child will likely perform better in classes as they are able to think more critically and find it easier to problem solve, this will also help to improve the child’s self-esteem and confidence. Not only does playing outside help to increase children’s creativity, but this is enhanced by the fact that many outdoor play equipment incorporates creative play into its design, helping to encourage children to be creative as they play.
Outdoor play will help to increase happiness in children. Children normally naturally enjoy playing outdoors as it gives them a sense of freedom that isn’t achieved with indoor play. This sense of freedom, combined with fresh air and natural sunlight, helps to increase children’s happiness. As well as this, playing outdoors often means playing in public areas which encourages children to play with their peers, make friends, and socialise.
Creates childhood memories
When you look back to your own childhood there are likely to be happy memories of playing outdoors. Playing outside is a childhood activity that often creates happy memories that stays with children as they grown up and become adults. This not only increases their wellbeing as children, but the memories will also increase their wellbeing as adults.
The majority of children love playing outdoors, whether in their garden, public parks or school playgrounds and encouraging children to head outdoors to play will help improve all areas of their wellbeing.