Importance of outdoor play in early childhood
Today's children spend an increasing amount of time indoors, fidgeting with electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets, and watching television. They tend to swap active outdoor recreation for more sedentary activities, often at the expense of their health and quality of life. As a parent, you must understand the importance of and encourage outdoor playtime for the holistic development of your child.
Enhances motor skills and physical health
Children who play outside stay fit and healthy. Playing outdoors provides numerous opportunities to develop gross motor skills, balance, coordination, and strength, and also encourages a healthy lifestyle. Running, jumping, climbing, and playing with balls are all physical activities that help children build a strong foundation for their overall physical development. Being healthy from an early age can also help prevent future illnesses.
Develops their emotional skills
When children play outdoors, they are more likely to take risks and overcome obstacles, which might boost their confidence and self-esteem. A child, for example, may feel a sense of accomplishment and enhanced confidence in their abilities after successfully climbing a tree. Children may fall or stumble while playing, but with practice, they learn to get back up and try again, thereby gaining resilience.
Strengthens their social skills
When playing with others, children may need to consider how their actions affect others and respond appropriately. It helps develop empathy. There will be instances when children get into fights while playing. When such circumstances arise, they can practice listening, compromising, and negotiating to resolve their differences. It can help them develop conflict resolution skills, which are essential for maintaining healthy relationships.
Helps develop an appreciation for nature
Playing outside helps children develop an understanding and appreciation for the natural environment. Children may learn about plants, animals, and ecosystems by spending time outside and observing nature. One's relationship with nature has been related to increased mental health and well-being. Spending time in a natural setup can help alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms, as well as foster feelings of calmness and relaxation.