Playing outside ranks high on the list of a child’s things to do. As adults though, we’re usually not that keen. With a thousand and one things to do inside the house, playing outside can seem like just another demand our children place upon us.
Today we’re going to share with you the benefits playing outside can provide our children, plus some great ideas for games and activities which won’t break the bank.
Top Benefits Kids Get from Playing Outside
Outdoor play does more than make kids tired enough to sleep, though that’s a great bonus for us parents. It provides a child the chance to:
- Explore and interact with the natural environment – unlike some man-made toys, natural materials from the outdoors can be used in multiple ways.
- Engage their imagination by playing with natural materials
- Learn new skills – often this is through the exploration
- Develop their gross motor skills and coordination – running, jumping, walking and climbing are only some of the gross motor skills kids develop when playing outside.
- Increase their level of physical fitness and stamina
- Learn and practice social skills – working with others is a hard concept for many children to grasp. Being outside in a motivating and interesting environment helps make social skill practice and development easier.
- Develop a positive, can-do attitude – if a child can’t climb a tree but wants to, they will keep trying until they do it. It’s a great opportunity to work on mastering new skills and activities.
- Increase their attention span – kids are naturally interested in the outdoors. Insects, animals and plants are endless sources of attraction and engagement.
- Start a love for nature and protecting the environment – parents can step in here and demonstrate ways that a child can help care for their environment. Easy ways would be not chasing birds and putting food scraps into a worm compost bin.
- Promote and encourage a healthy lifestyle right from when they are young
- Develop spatial and sensory awareness by being aware of what is around them
Next, we’ll cover some brilliant activities and games you and your children can play outdoors.
5 Exciting Games & Activities Kids Can Play Outdoors
There are so many great ideas for games you and your kids can play when outside, that we had trouble choosing just five. However, to cut a long story short, here are our six favourites:
- Bubbles – blowing and chasing bubbles is even more fun outside when you’ve got a small breeze. By golly, they can fly fast and high.
- Mud kitchens – these are awesome ways for kids to explore, measure, mix and learn how things work. Our cubby playhouses would work well with this activity.
- Hide and seek – a good old favourite! You can spice things up by hiding objects and not people or make it easier by stipulation when people can hide.
- Nature scavenger hunt – give your kids a list containing pictures of items they need to fine, or simply tell them what to look for one by one. Grab a bucket to collect their findings in, and then once you’ve finished, head over to the sandpit to do some building with them.
- Soap boat races – grab a few bars of soap and race them down a slope, such as a clean piece of guttering or on a damp tarp. It’s a perfect way for you to help your child get squeaky clean at the same time.
We really do encourage parents to spend more time with their kids playing outside. It’s such a beneficial activity for everyone in the family and can be done year-round when you dress accordingly.