Outside Play is one of my favorite part of our day. If you’re like me, outside play is ultimately free choice for kids. Children can run around, dig, swing, and even scream at the top of their lungs. We are lucky that we have a large outside space to aid in creativity and imagination.
Benefits of Outside Play
Outside play increases motor skills, teaches children how to control their bodies, social skills, and independence. Learning happens all the time with young children. It doesn’t happen solely inside the classroom or inside the home. It happens everywhere. The environment children are in teach them just as much the adults in their lives do. There are many teachable moments playing outside as well as inside. We can talk about nature, patterns, or pouring sand. The key is to listen and observe children’s conversations and actions.
Motor skills (large and small) increase playing while playing outside. For my kiddos, we have a large yard (pictured above) which allow them to run and run and run. We have swings, teeter totters and slides to also help improve their large motor skills. For fine motor we have a sand box permanently outside. We also take small toys out for small world play as well as water buckets (in the summer time). Plus, digging in the dirt is something everyone enjoys (and it is a cheap activity!).
The more children use their motor skills the quicker they learn how to control their bodies. The yard the kiddos are able to play with have some pretty steep inclines. Kids learn to shift their body weight going up and down so that they don’t fall on their face. Which is bound to happen as children are learning. I mean, I still stumble and fall sometimes. Kicking and catching balls helps with hand-eye coordination and large motor skills where sand play helps with hand-eye coordination and small motor skills.
Something about being outside, surrounded by nature makes children social problem solvers. I find that children are more willing to communicate with each other when they are playing outside versus inside. Being outside my kiddos who struggle a bit with friendships seem to do really well outside. Children are able to collaborate and discuss ideas freely playing outside.
Along with cultivating friendships, children are also more independent. Young children in general play independently. But they become their own independent problem solvers when they are outside. Even when we’re inside I’ll ask “How could we solve/fix that?” So that I am not the one fixing all of the problems. To be honest, when you have a group of young children, solving everyone’s problems isn’t feasible. That is why building their independence early on is so important. It makes your life easier, as well as their teacher’s life easier. Sometimes, the simplicity of natural surroundings is all kids need to problem solve and use their imagination.
Another added bonus to our outside area is we get to watch the train go by! I love how their play stops momentarily to appreciate this daily occurrence.
I think the overall mood of the children is positive after playing outside. Since they can run and be crazy outside, it does diminish some behavior problems inside, like running.
Natural Playgrounds can be found here.
You can also read an article about playgrounds that are banning parents to let children explore and play on their own terms.
Or you can watch this video on this adventure playgrounds which I love.
Thank you for reading! I hope you found this post useful! Let me know in the comments your thoughts on adventure playgrounds!
Roel Umali Hernandez says
Hello fellow educator! It’s always awesome to see someone from the Academe doing blogs. It just feels so right! Hahaha.
I think what you’re doing is a great service to schools and parents. Stay at it! And welcome to The Bloggers Masterclass.
This is Roel, teaching in a university, and a proud owner of uglywriters.com
Thanks Roel! I love reading other education blogs too! It is nice to get another perspective or read about different ages! 🙂
Kara Simone - The Up Side says
I never thought about outside play like that. This was a great post. Being out Side is definitely a mood booster!
I love outside! and the freedom children get by playing outside! 🙂