Immy is learning to ride a bike and it is a fabulous incentive for us to spend more time outdoors. Fortunately, the weather here has cooled a little, though we do still need to head out first thing in the morning or in the late afternoon/early evening. Although I love summer, the heat this year was relentless and both Immy and I have missed the freedom of large portions of time outdoors throughout the day. Thank goodness for the arrival of autumn!
Outdoor play is so important to a child’s development. It provides;
1. Time and space for physical activity which is important to both personal health and the development of both fine motor (small muscle) and gross motor (large muscle) skills.
2. Rich engagement of the five senses – seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting. I have posted before about the importance of sensory stimulation to development and outdoor environments are wonderful for multi-sensory stimulation.
3. Whenever I have a cold or flu or feel stressed and overtired, fresh air and sunshine provide a wonderful, low cost antidote. Studies suggest that time to play outdoors is important to the mental health of children, you can read more here.
4. Space for unstructured, imaginative play – you can see the reasons why imaginative play is important in this previous post.
5. A platform for our children to better appreciate the importance of the natural environment and a basis for learning more about caring for the world we live in.
6. An excellent way to spend time together as a family, which is important to emotional health and development.
April is Get Outdoors Month at Childhood 101. We would encourage you to make time to play outdoors everyday for the month of April. Will you join us?
Outdoor playtime everyday for the month of April, regardless of the weather.