Today’s kids spend an average of seven hours every day with technology such as phones, computers, tablets, and television. Evidence suggests that nowadays they frequently forgo vigorous outdoor leisure in favor of more sedentary pursuits, damaging their health and general well-being. When playing outside, kids learn to explore, interact with peers, use their motor abilities, and more, often contributing greatly to social skills and self-respect. Find out more about outdoor play options and benefits below.

Ideas for Outdoor Play for Kids

Three children playing outside with toys, surrounded by logs.

Kids who participate in outdoor activities can benefit from increased physical activity, improved cognitive function, increased creativity, and a stronger connection to nature. An overview of many outdoor pastimes that might occupy and amuse kids is provided below:

Active Play 

  • Sports: Playing sports with children, such as tennis, basketball, baseball, or soccer, fosters fitness, teamwork, coordination, and sportsmanship.
  • Bicycling: Learning to ride a bike and going on bicycling excursions with kids may help them gain balance, motor skills, and self-assurance.
  • Playground entertainment: Going to playgrounds that have swings, slides, climbing frames, and sandboxes gives kids the chance to play how they want and connect with others.

Nature Exploration

  • Nature walks: Guided nature walks in parks, woods, or nature reserves help children to explore and learn about plants, animals, and the environment.
  • Scavenger hunts: Constructing nature-themed scavenger hunts with clues is a memorable way to help teach kids about diverse flora and fauna.
  • Gardening: Teaching children about plants, seeds, and the environmental advantages of gardening is beneficial in countless ways.

Creative Pursuits

  • Arts and crafts: Setting up an outdoor art station with paper, paint, brushes, and organic materials such as leaves and flowers enables children to express their creativity their way.
  • Outdoor theater: Encouraging kids to perform a play or puppet performance using a temporary set or other props in the backyard or a nearby park is a creative group activity that encourages storytelling and speech.
  • Sidewalk chalk: Enabling children to use chalk to create vibrant works of art on the sidewalk or driveway encourages artistic expression and motor abilities.

Water-Based Activities

  • Splash parks: Let kids cool down on a hot day by splashing around in the fountains, sprayers, and water slides at the local pool, water park, and more.
  • Water balloon games: Organizing water balloon throws or making obstacle courses out of water balloons, among other activities, are an affordable and thrilling activity for kids of nearly all ages.
  • Paddle boating or canoeing: If accessible, exposing children to boating adventures on calm lakes or rivers may be a fun adventure while also focusing on swimming and water safety.

Adventure and Exploration

  • Camping: Arranging family outings to the great outdoors introduces kids to outdoor living, cooking over a campfire, and so much about the natural world.
  • Geocaching: Go on a treasure hunt with your kids, utilizing GPS devices or apps to uncover and bury items inside hidden caches. This is perfect for teaching safe exploration and problem solving.
  • Rock or tree climbing: Encouraging kids to try climbing activities, in a safe and supervised environment, helps them develop strength, balance, and self-assurance.

Always put safety first; modify activities to fit a child’s age and skills, and promote free play and discovery. Kids may grow physically, mentally, and emotionally via outdoor activities, and they can develop a lifetime love of nature that enriches their whole lives.

Why Is Outdoor Play Important for Kids?

From infant daycare settings to grade school and beyond, so many positive factors go into outdoor play. Participating in activities outside in a natural setting benefits children’s physical and mental health as well as their social and cognitive development and connection to nature. Here’s a deeper look at the benefits.

Physical Fitness and Growth 

Outdoor activities are also often a chance to get in some physical activities such as running, leaping, climbing, and throwing, which help kids improve their motor skills, coordination, and general fitness. This includes everything from cardiovascular health to muscle growth and bone density improvement. Regular outdoor play also helps people of all ages stay at a healthy weight and lowers their chance of developing weight issues.

Mental and Emotional Health 

Children may explore, learn about, and experience the natural world via outdoor play. Children who spend time outside feel more at ease and experience less tension, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms. Playing outside fosters creative and inventive thinking, problem-solving abilities, and cognitive development. Additionally, it fosters a sense of liberation, autonomy, and self-assurance.

Social Contact and Communication 

Education and indoor life can be very structured, and outdoor play lets children engage with their friends in a less structured setting.  As kids converse, swap stories, and create imaginative play situations with one another, outdoor play promotes language and communication development. They can build social skills such as compromise, collaboration, negotiation, and compromise.

Nature Connection 

Children may connect with nature and grow a respect for the environment by spending time outside. It promotes knowledge of biodiversity, ecology, and the natural world as a whole. When kids are young, outdoor play may foster a feeling of duty and stewardship toward the environment, resulting in more environmentally responsible behavior.

Creativity and Imagination 

Children’s creativity and imagination are stimulated by outdoor play’s sensory-rich environment. Children have access to a limitless variety of objects and stimuli in nature to investigate and interact with. The outdoors offers a rich canvas for kids’ creative expression, whether they’re making forts in a sandpit, using natural materials to make art, or coming up with a game for others to play.

Parents and teachers support and promote regular outside play for many good reasons. For your kids’ imagination and creativity, their physical and mental health, and so much more, make sure they get enough time outside.

Find the Greatest Learning Opportunities for Your Children

Children benefit from outdoor activities, not just for learning, but their general well-being. Through a research-based curriculum, the childcare centers run by Crème de la Crème offer kids a range of educational opportunities. Our teachers provide our curriculum in a supportive setting designed to encourage children’s social, cognitive, and emotional development as well-rounded learners. Would you like more information about our curriculum or our regular daycare sessions? Contact us or visit us soon.

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Unsplash