It may be Spring, but that doesn’t always mean warm sunshine and dry land when you live in the UK! But why let that stop you? Recent studies have proven that children need at least 15 minutes of outdoor play every single day, and let’s face it- they don’t tend to mind a spot of rain, do they? So if you’re looking for excuses, look elsewhere. These tips for outdoor play have been designed to inspire you to get those wellies on and get out and play!
Why outdoor play is so important
Being outdoors has so many benefits for children (and adults too!) and these are just a few of them:
- Vitamin D. Being outside boosts the intake of the vitamin we need to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. For growing children getting enough is essential!
- Gross motor skills. Children need to learn how to run, jump, climb, kick balls and pedal pedals. Being outdoors promotes gross motor skills and gives children wide open spaces to exert themselves.
- Fitness. Give a child an open space and that child will run! Being outdoors promotes a healthier lifestyle for our children and boosts fitness levels too.
- Knowledge of the world around us. Being outdoors is a wonderful learning experience for children, and an opportunity for them to use their senses to explore. Just being in green spaces boosts a child’s knowledge, but also being able to investigate new surroundings has huge impacts on learning too.
So now that you know how important being outdoors is, here are some tips to getting out there and playing!
- Make sure you have appropriate clothing. The UK is not known for it’s warm weather all year round, and we do tend to get a lot of rain too. So make sure you have thick waterproofs and welly boots to hand at all times. As they say- there is no such thing as poor weather, just poor clothing!
- Make outdoor play a natural part of playtime. Don’t make a big deal out of going out to play- it doesn’t need to be planned, or something to ‘get over and done with’. As soon as you view being outdoors as part of everyday life, the easier it will become.
- Indulge in your child’s interests. If they love creepy crawlies, go on a bug hunt. If climbing is their thing, find a good, solid tree and see how they go. Take a picnic to the park, and bring teddies to make it extra special.
- Take the paints outside. Outdoor art is a wonderful way to get kids creative and you won’t even notice you’re outsideonce you get going! Another plus is that the house stays clean too…
- Clean the car. A simple, yet wonderful sensory experience for children. And you get a clean car in the process. Result!
- Go for a walk. Take bikes, prams, scooters or just little legs. Where you go doesn’t really matter- take a letter to pop in the post box? Buy a comic from the newsagent?- but once you’re walking and breathing fresh air the world is your oyster!
- Take an empty bag with you. Sounds strange, but you’ll notice that children like to collect things when they’re out and about. Let them find brightly coloured leaves, oddly shaped stones and smooth, round rocks. Let them collect their treasures!
- Run. Yes, you too. Get outside, get the endorphins flowing. Take a ball, or a skipping rope, or just run. Get the heart pumping and enjoy being outdoors!
The best thing about being outdoors in cold or rainy weather can sometimes be coming back inside again. Make sure you have some warm milk or hot chocolate to hand, and wrap cold children in a snuggly Cuddledry to warm up… until the next outdoor adventure!