Outdoor Play Helps Improve Kids’ Thinking Skills

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By- Tracey Clayton


When you are blessed to have a family and gorgeous kids running around, you’ll do everything to help them become the best versions of themselves, regardless of the hard times, false relationships and difficult surroundings to be living in.

Truth is, apart from the good education, healthy family relationships and the unconditional love, kids need to be taught ways how to interact with children of their age, build relationships and a positive attitude towards life.

With plenty of factors integrated in what we call “upbringing”, there are a few aspects that stand out. One of those aspects is helping children cultivate a healthy approach to spending time outdoors, especially in a time that’s technology-oriented and gadget-focused.

Apart From The Fun Part, Why Is Outdoor Play Important For Children?

While playing outside, children witness a new life, explore with all their senses, spark their curiosity and negotiate with each other to create a playful environment; they can create imaginary worlds which drive their flourishing imagination and they get the opportunity to get to know themselves better.

Kay Redfield Jamison, a clinical psychologist writes, “Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.”

Children learn ways of the world through open-ended creative play with no necessary structure and/or guidance and rely on their personal judgment for direction.

What Benefits Come From Encouraging Children To Play Outside?

Except that it increases kids’ physical activity levels, improves immune systems, reduces anxiety, promotes  socializing with other kids and is extremely fun, there are plenty of additional aspects that make outdoor play the best thing a child in their early age (and later) can experience:

Outdoor Play Is A Multi-Sensory Activity


Children will smell, hear, see and touch things unavailable to them when they play in an indoor space. They’ll engage their brains to understand and process these new stimuli and engage critical thinking to conclude whether they are ok or not with what they’ve just discovered. Further, by actually experiencing things from nature they’ve only prior learned about at school, children are grasping concepts and linking them to the real experience. This form of informal play encourages formal learning.

Outdoor Play Increases Attention Span


Playing outdoors is a natural attention builder which is extremely important for children’s development; research has shown that children who’ve experienced difficulties sitting still for long periods of times are significantly more successful in it after time spent outside.

Outdoor Play Is Imaginative And Stimulates Creativity


When children are given the opportunity to unconditionally explore the world in front of them without being subjected to any pre-conceived ideas and rules, children must create the surroundings they are comfortable with. They start using their imagination extensively by embracing problem-solving situations and are working towards finding a solution through means available to them – stones, rocks, trees, dirt, water, grass… Allowed to use all natural materials and spaces, children’s limitless imagination becomes a medium of inventiveness and creativity.

Outdoor Play Encourages Cooperative Play


Allowed to rely on their skills and work towards a goal, children communicate, brainstorm and finally agree upon solutions that everyone agrees on. They learn to compromise and work together to meet a desired outcome. If you’ve ever observed the way children function at birthday parties with kids party entertainers around, you’ve noticed they communicate way better than adults and that they are using the outcome of that communication for a higher goal – bend the entertainer to their will and play that game they all like one more time. Clever!

Playing Outside Promotes Leadership Skills


Mingling in a group, kids quickly learn who they are as characters even though, at the time, they may not be aware of it yet. In an environment with no parent-influence, kids work together on a goal and natural leaders will arise. What’s wonderful about outdoor child play is that all types of leadership (or lack thereof) are encouraged as there are plenty of opportunities for children to exercise them – while one child may excel at coming up with a new game, the other one may enjoy setting up the physical challenge of an outdoor obstacle course.

Playing Outdoors Helps Children Build Friendships


Spending time outdoors, children interact with one another and may quickly notice similarities and differences between them and their peers. Easily, through game-play they’ll find children they are most alike with and continue building relationships that may easily end up being for life. They’ll also learn to compromise and adapt to children who are a different character to theirs, but still will play and interact with them (read: team work).

Being In Nature Develops Empathy


Spending time in nature lets children understand and appreciate the beauty of living things. Further, they are developing the ability to consider other people’s feelings, by interacting with creatures in nature and observing other children’s reactions to it.

About author:

Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She loves cooking, baking, sewing, spending quality time with her daughters and she’s passionate for writing. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”

This entry was posted in Childcare, Parenting Tips, Toddler and Kids and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Outdoor Play Helps Improve Kids’ Thinking Skills

  1. Himadri says:

    Another great way to improve your child’s thinking skills is to introduce them to the world of music. Read more about it at our blog – http://www.furtadosschoolofmusic.com/blog/

  2. Eve says:

    Terrific list, I must say! It’s a good list of all the benefits kids can have from spending some time outdoors everyday. My kids do spend considerable time playing puzzle games or online games. These last couple of years what with school work, their time with devices has increased, but I strongly encourage them to play in the yard or spend time playing a team sport outside when the weather is good. Our kids enjoy it. I am hoping they make outdoors time a part of their everyday schedule. Again, thanks!

  3. Sahiba Khan says:

    Nice one. Read more on Parenting and child care at:- Just Dakhila Blog. Google it to know more!!

  4. Neha Jha says:

    Nicely written Varda, outdoor sport is really important for physical, social and metal development of a child. Parents should encourage and motivate child for outdoor playing activities rather than indoor and computer related games. You can read more on parenting, child care and education of children at:- Just Dakhila Blog. Google it to know more!!

  5. Outdoors games always make children physically strong.

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