How children grow and learn through outdoor play

How children grow and learn through outdoor play

Taking children outdoors is a great way to develop their confidence, imagination, curiosity and love for learning as well as burning up lots of energy. This in turn, helps them to be calmer and more focused when they are indoors. 

We have found that the children get less frustrated with each other when they are outdoors as they have the space to move away from anyone who is being too loud, or when they want to be alone. 

Outdoors, the children have more freedom and this leads to them becoming more independent and imaginative in their play. 

They often feel more confident in taking risks and in exploring activities such as climbing trees, lifting rocks to find out what is underneath or using climbing equipment. There’s nothing like the sense of pride a child gets when they have achieved something they previously thought they couldn’t!

The children at Forbes Nursery get different opportunities to play outdoors, regardless of the weather. When it’s raining, they learn various ways to use wet mud and sand, which are different to when it is dry, jump in puddles, collect and measure water, dance with umbrellas etc. In windy weather they enjoy flying kites and watching the movement of the clouds. 

In our experience, the children rarely choose not to go outside in bad weather, it’s usually the adults that put restraints on this!

Through physical outdoor activities, children use skills such as running, jumping, hopping and skipping and develop a love of exercise, doing something they enjoy. 

Another outdoor activity we encourage is for children to grow and cook their own vegetables, thus introducing them early on to different aspects of a healthy lifestyle.

Andrea Whyte is Lead Practitioner at Forbes Nursery in Edinburgh.

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