Why is it important for childcare centres to provide outdoor spaces?

The importance of providing outdoor spaces in childcare centres cannot be overstated. At its most basic level, outdoor play helps to develop children’s physical abilities as well as their emotional and social bonding capabilities. But the learning opportunities extend far beyond the obvious as outdoor play can extend children’s observation, exploration, and experimentation tendencies. As long as specific safety measures are taken, and their safety is guaranteed, outdoor games will offer nothing but benefits to growing children.

How have things changed in modern times?

Modern life offers us unprecedented levels of convenience and accessibility to information and knowledge; however, this has come at a grave cost. The pace of our daily routines has had a definite and negative influence on our children’s exercise habits. Activities such as watching television, streaming video, playing computer games, and interacting through social networks, have come to replace physical activity and outdoor play.

Therefore, it is imperative that we encourage outdoor activities at all times. We must maximise our children’s opportunities for outdoor play beyond the occasional weekend outing with the family. Childcare centres are exceptionally positioned to do this.

Does outdoor play affect a child’s development?

Playing outside and having regular access to outdoor play is important because it can provide a host of positive benefits that can further your child’s physical, emotional, and cognitive development.

Outdoor play can significantly boost your kid’s self-confidence through the development of their physical prowess, strength and agility. Fitter children are better prepared to overcome their fears and insecurities.

Outdoor play can also improve their social confidence and their ability to establish interpersonal relationships with other children, and later in life as adults. Outdoor play regularly provides children with opportunities to learn to assess situations of conflict in an appropriate manner and to determine acceptable models of aggression.

One of the primary functions of physical play in young children is for learning how to regulate fear and anger. In a game with a modicum of risk, children quickly learn to face small doses of anxiety that are manageable without falling into negative emotions for prolonged periods. Thus they learn to overcome these situations and recover a healthy and balanced emotional state.

How about social benefits?

Children who play outside on a regular basis also learn to share, interact with other people, and learn how to wait their turn, as well as develop good manners. They will be able to lend their toys, prepare games that accommodate others, learn the concept of negotiation and even learn how to adopt leadership behaviours.

Regular outdoor play allows children with the chance to generate a repertoire of innovative behaviours that can be adapted to a specific niche.

Children can foster their leadership and communication skills by playing outside. In establishing the rules of play, they learn to direct, negotiate, and compromise with the other children.

Finally, outdoor play stimulates children’s imagination and creativity. The opportunities for creative solutions become virtually unlimited, and the ability to imagine fantastical scenarios and live out heroic feats becomes invaluable.

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