The Value of Outdoor Play

The Value of Outdoor Play

Have you ever thought of the many wonderful things that are happening for your children during their outdoor play experiences? For a young child outdoor play may be one of the most critical periods for developmental growth in his/her day.

While outdoors a child can take risks, play without needing to “achieve” or “learn”, and interact freely with peers. Tremendous opportunities for cooperating, sharing, and problem-solving occur outdoors. Children’s imaginations take hold and their spirits soar. They observe nature and ask questions that help them understand themselves and the world.

It is a widely held view that unstructured physical play is a developmentally appropriate outlet for reducing stress in children’s lives. Research shows that physical activity improves children’s attentiveness and decreases restlessness. And there is much evidence to show that children who engage in physical exercise are less likely to be overweight and will develop habits that will help them maintain healthy lifestyles as adults.

At EFC we want to take full advantage of Minnesota’s summer to be outdoors with your child to play, relax, explore, and exercise. Until at least the age of nine, children’s learning occurs best when the whole self is involved. During outdoor play the mind, body, and spirit are united. Have you thought of how many experiences children have that only involve the senses of sight and hearing? When outdoors, a child can freely develop his/her sense of smell, touch, and taste, as well as the powerful sense of motion. Children gain confidence as they figure out how to navigate their immediate environment safely. That confidence lays the foundation for the courage that will enable them to eventually “navigate” their own lives. We’re so happy to be able to provide time this summer for your child to experience the many benefits of outdoor play! Come and join us on the playground to kick a ball, watch a child’s new skill or read a book under a tree. Have a great summer!