As a family you will usually find us outdoors, whatever the weather. Through the Summer months we live in the garden enjoying the sunshine, or spending the lighter evenings in the park letting the children run off that last burst of energy, and I think those months are my favourite times throughout the year. In the Winter months we use our garden far less, although we still spend our weekends enjoying walks in the woods or at the playground down the road, playing until we can’t feel our hands any longer. For me, there is nothing better than being outside, enjoying the fresh air, and tiring out the kids in the hope of a lie-in…
So I was surprised when I learned recently that a huge percentage of children don’t play outside, something which is completely alien to me growing up in a house where we played out from morning ’til night, only returning home for our dinner! I’m sharing 5 reasons why playing outdoors is good for our kids.
1. Developing Motor Skills
Playing outdoors is a great way to encourage children to develop their gross motor skills – learning to run, jump, skip, and build up their muscles as they play. For us, as much fun as it is to have play sets in our garden for the children, they also double up as ways to encourage these motor skills and through the use of kids swing sets we have been able to do just that.
Wickey has some amazing wooden swing sets, all of varying sizes to suit any garden, and for just one child to play on or, perfect for us, several. With larger sets containing slides and climbing frames, they are perfect for building up the children’s strength and co-ordination too!
2. Encourages a healthy lifestyle
Playing outdoors with your child keeps you and your little one active which in turn burns off energy, helps your child to sleep, increases appetite, and encourages a healthy lifestyle. I think it’s so important to teach our children the importance of keeping active at a young age and outdoor play is a great way to lay those foundations.
3. Allows your child to use their imagination
For me there is nothing better than seeing my children really play, not with plastic toys or directed games, but just use their imaginations, create their own magical world, and fully immerse themselves into it. Watching them in the garden together fascinates me, seeing how one minute they are building a fairy house from nothing but grass and fallen leaves, and the next they are swinging from their swing set, acting out scenes from their favourite Disney movie, and it takes me back to being small again and how every single day was a brand new adventure.
4. Get enough Vitamin D
Although it is recommended that everyone in the UK should be taking a Vitamin D supplement, it is also important to get enough daylight when possible to top us up where possible. A lack of Vitamin D can lead to problems with a child’s bones and muscles, and babies and young toddlers in particular are susceptible to low blood calcium levels if they do not have enough Vitamin D. Therefore outdoor play is such an important part of our children’s every day health.
5. To encourage better sleep
As I touched on earlier, fresh air is proven to encourage a better sleep routine and in my experience, this has been true with each of my children. On the days we don’t get outdoors for whatever reason (terrible weather or poorly children), we really struggle at bedtime and their sleep is disturbed. Just allowing them to play out after tea on their. swing set or kicking the football around tires them out just enough to get through bathtime and up to bed, and they are usually out like a light!
So there you have it, five reasons why outdoor play is so important for our children. I am looking forward to a long Summer of playing outdoors with my four!
** This is a collaborative post **