Outdoor play is an important part of childhood. It’s exciting to see children in their natural environment – exploring their surroundings, being curious about what’s around them and finding joy in seeing new things. Surely, most of us fondly remember running around in the garden, digging, and dumping sand in the sandpit, and climbing up and going down a slide.
It is sad to see children spending less time outside these days. A recent study found that children today spend half of the time outside compared to their parents. As educators and sports coaches, we know how vital outdoor play is to a child’s overall development and learning. Studies have shown that children can learn a lot from playing outdoors – from improved spatial recognition to simply understanding environmental tendencies. Simple activities such as seeing leaves change, running, and jumping in rain puddles, or watching the flowers sprout during the spring, can make such a great difference to young children.
Kids need to remain active throughout the day; so promoting outdoor play allows them to get fresh air and to explore their surroundings and the environment. Hands-on learning, the natural environment and loose parts play in the outdoors stimulate children’s senses through what they hear, touch, see, feel, and smell.
THE BENEFITS OF OUTDOOR PLAY
At Clamber Club, we firmly endorse that outdoor play improves physical development. Movement is important for growth, physical coordination, and the overall health of the body. When children play outside they increase their ability to balance, jump, climb, throw, run, and skip.
IMPROVED SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Aka, more friends! At Clamber Club, outdoor play provides children with the opportunity to gain social skills by interacting, collaborating, and negotiating with others.
Being outside gives young children the opportunity to pretend to be anything they want, for example, to be a lion in the bushveld or a builder in the sandpit.
GAIN KNOWLEDGE AND APPRECIATION OF THE NATURAL WORLD
Children learn about the natural elements and their surroundings when they are outside. For example, they learn about the weather, the change in seasons, and different animals found in the bushveld.