Did you know playing and spending time outdoors has many benefits for children? Outdoor play is a multi-sensory experience. Playing in the backyard, at the park, or on the playground provides input to all of the senses in our body such as aromas from plants, the sight of nature, and feeling unique textures, just to name a few. Outdoor play also encourages body awareness, balance and strength as kids navigate climbing ladders, running through the yard, sliding, or swinging. Time spent away from screens and in a natural environment supports improvement in physical health since it is the perfect place for kids to be active to their heart’s content.
Outdoor play lets kids explore the natural environment and participate in safe risk-taking which gives them to chance to be inventive and imaginative with their play. During these times, they are allowed the chance to create games, problem solve different ways to interact with equipment or toys, and experience social development with their peers. Furthermore, playing outside can also help increase attention spans as kids become more self-directed in their choices and are more likely to stay with a task they are curious about for a longer period of time!
Anne Abernathy, MS, OTR/L
Child’sPlay Therapy Center