Benefits of Outdoor Play for Children

Benefits of Outdoor Play for Children

After staying indoors completing home-based learning activities and playing indoors for several months now, little children all around Singapore are eager to head outside to breathe in fresh air and play in the sun! Did you know that outdoor play and outdoor activities are strongly encouraged as they offer a plethora of positive effects on children’s well-being?

Studies have shown that playing in natural spaces supports a child’s sense of self, allowing children to recognise their independence alongside an interdependence and connectedness with their ecological worlds.

6 Benefits of Outdoor Play

Outdoor play is a crucial part of one’s childhood. When outdoors, children are in their natural habitats, exploring new environments, asking numerous questions, and experiencing new things!

1. Exposure to Sunlight

Don’t belittle the effect of sunlight on your little one’s health! The sunlight we receive when we are outdoors, even on an extremely cloudy day, far exceeds the lighting we usually encounter when we are indoors. Letting your child to go out once in a while makes a huge difference in the amount of sunlight they get exposed to!

Exposure to sufficient sunlight ensures that children get enough vitamin D, a unique vitamin that is created when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is beneficial as it helps kids to grow strong and healthy bones and muscles. Bright light also helps kids concentrate better which improves the formation of synapses in the brain.

2. Work Out A Sweat

Studies have shown that kids get more vigorous exercise whenever they play outside their homes. Perhaps due to the abundance of space, children run, jump, and explore the entire landscape when they are outdoors.

As kids are still developing and growing, exercising is important to nurture good health! Furthermore, participating in various outdoor activities or even navigating the different structures in a playground encourage them to nurture their motor skills. Be it kicking their feet off the ground on a see-saw, to climbing up the slide, these simple physical movements help to utilise different muscles and to that end, strengthen them!

3. Learn New Words and Concepts

Teaching children action words like ‘skip’, ‘squash’, ‘sway’ is easier when you children see it being performed. We’re not saying that you can’t do that indoors but when you’re outdoors, there are increased opportunities for these movements. Hands-on learning of what textures are and how the sand feels ‘rough’ while the slide is ‘smooth’ is also easier when they get to actually feel them while seeing what a bear looks like (even from a far) in the zoo, helps children to retain information better as compared to seeing photographs and pictures in a book or on their digital devices.

4. Improve Sensory Skills

Being outdoors allow children to learn through the use of all of their senses. When they are outdoors, at the park or at the playground, they are able to see and listen to the sounds of insects or birds (sight and hearing), smell and touch flowers and plants (smell and touch), feel how it is like to stomp in water puddles (sight, hearing, touch), or even have a taste of the rain (taste)! In comparison, if the only source of entertainment for children is their digital devices, it only helps to develop their sense of hearing and sight, which limits the development of a child’s sensory skills!

5. Opportunities for Social Interaction

At the playground, children will get to meet other kids of similar ages. Especially for kids who do not have a sibling, outdoor playgrounds provide them opportunities to practise and nurture social skills such as taking turns and sharing the facilities and helps them to communicate better with other children.

Researchers have found that children who spend more time outdoors tend to be more cooperative and socially expressive. They are able to verbalise their desires and will learn to work with others as they play.

6. Encourage Risk-Taking

Many parents become anxious to even think of the possibility of putting their children in risky situations. But research has shown that if parents were to constantly keep their children in safety bubbles and never allow them to take any risks, they may not be able to develop the confidence and bravery to face the inevitable risks that life brings! When children are faced with challenges, they’ll be compelled to think of innovative and creative ways to overcome problems. When they finally do so, it will help them become more confident individuals.

That doesn’t mean that you should go all out and leave your child to play in the outdoors. Instead, parents can allow children to play outdoors and take safe risks, such as climbing up the playground or hanging on a monkey bar. Parents can even encourage children to ask for permission to share the facilities when playing with other children.

About Mulberry Learning

At Mulberry Learning, we recognise the importance of outdoor play in preschoolers and we believe that children learn best in thoughtfully-curated surroundings. Our design philosophy is to bring the outdoors indoors, creating a vibrant oasis for children to learn and play in. Each Mulberry Learning preschool boasts warm, inviting, and provocation-rich learning spaces to stimulate a child’s curiousity, generate conversations, conjure thoughts, formulate ideas, and generate interest in the things around them.

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