HOW OUTDOOR PLAY CONTRIBUTES TO A CHILD’S PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT

In this day and age, it is quite common to have children holed up indoors, glued to their screens. However, playing outdoors, be it alone or with friends, does wonders for your child’s physical development. Outdoor play helps your child in the following ways: 

  1. Gross Motor Skills Development

Outdoor activities like running, jumping, climbing, and playing ball games require substantial body movements. These activities help children develop essential gross motor skills, improving their muscle strength, coordination, and balance. Climbing structures, swinging, and riding bikes are particularly effective in refining these skills.

  1. Fine Motor Skills Enhancement

Outdoor play offers various opportunities for fine motor skill development. Activities such as picking up small objects, digging in the sand, or using small gardening tools refine the muscles in children’s hands and fingers. Fine motor skills are crucial for tasks like writing, buttoning shirts, and tying shoelaces.

  1. Cardiovascular Health

Outdoor activities involve continuous physical movements, which contribute to cardiovascular health. Running, jumping, and cycling increase heart rate and improve blood circulation, promoting a healthy heart and lungs. Regular cardiovascular exercise at a young age establishes a strong foundation for a healthy lifestyle in the future.

  1. Sensory Stimulation

The outdoor environment provides rich sensory experiences. Children can feel different textures, such as grass, sand, and rocks, stimulating their tactile senses. They can also explore various natural scents and hear different sounds, enhancing their sensory perception. Engaging multiple senses simultaneously during outdoor play enriches their sensory experiences and overall physical development.

  1. Spatial Awareness

Outdoor activities often involve navigating through spaces, avoiding obstacles, and understanding distances. Through activities like playing tag or maneuvering around playground equipment, preschoolers develop spatial awareness – the ability to understand and interact with the environment around them. This skill is essential for activities like sports, driving, and even simple tasks such as arranging furniture in a room.

  1. Strengthens Bones and Muscles

Activities like climbing trees or jungle gyms, as well as running and jumping, put pressure on bones and muscles, promoting their growth and strength. Adequate physical activity during childhood helps in building a sturdy musculoskeletal system, reducing the risk of bone-related issues later in life.

We take outdoor play seriously at New Life’s three childcare centres, and ensure that your child gets enough time outdoors each week (subject to weather conditions), playing to their heart’s content.