The Importance of Outdoor Play

Despite now being in the midst of the cold and wet English weather, we will still be encouraging the children to spend as much time as possible, learning out-doors as well as in, even in the bad weather! However appropriate warm and waterproof clothing is vital!

Open space is needed to fulfil basic childhood needs; Jumping, running, climbing, swinging, racing, yelling, rolling, hiding, and making a big mess – is what childhood is all about! For a variety of obvious reasons many of these things cannot occur indoors. Yet children must have these important experiences. Children seem to be magnetically drawn to water and dirt. From their perspective, the activities that result in the messiest clothes are the activities which are the most fun! They are going to love our mud kitchen!

Children need the opportunity to explore the unknown, the unpredictable, and the adventurous. They also need to be able to wonder at nature, from the worm gliding through the newly turned dirt in the garden to the monarch butterfly emerging out of the chrysalis and gracefully fluttering away in the summer breeze.

Why Outdoor Play is critical for young children?

First, many of the developmental tasks that children must achieve—exploring, risk-taking, fine and gross motor development and the absorption of vast amounts of basic knowledge—can be most effectively learned through outdoor play. Second, our culture is taking outdoor play away from young children through excessive TV and computer use, unsafe neighbourhoods, busy and tired parents, educational accountability, resulting in time being taken away from play.

‘’Outdoor environments fulfill children’s basic needs for freedom, adventure, experimentation, risk-taking, and just being children’’ (Greenman, 1993).

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