The Benefits of Outdoor Fun
"The best classroom and the richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky." - Margaret McMillan, Educationist and Theorist of Nursery Education.
Think about your best childhood memories and chances are it involves the outdoors. Maybe it was a family trip to the beach, a game of Tip the Can with your friends, or simply the endless summer days spent playing in your garden. One thing is certain – it didn’t involve tablets, phones, computer games or watching TV! The delights of the outdoors are among the deepest, most passionate joys of childhood.
What Can the Outdoors Offer?
As well as benefiting from the physical exercise (and essential Vitamin D) a child’s whole well-being increases when they’re outdoors. They have the freedom to shout, make noise and create a mess; they have the space to be more expansive in their physical movements.
All of this sparks their imaginations and encourages them to be more creative and to try things out. The movement and activity also encourages brain growth and improves children’s attention and their memory. Their ability to understand and control their feelings and emotions also increases from being outdoors, as they relax and feel calmer.
And it’s Free!
This article was written by Barnardos for eumom.ie
- All the expensive toys in the world cannot replace the experience of hands-on involvement with the great outdoors. There are plenty of ways you and your little ones can get creative outside:
- Hunt for insects under logs, dig for worms, or splash in puddles. The messier the better!
- Go on a scavenger hunt together. Make a list of things to collect on a nature walk – a seed, a feather, something round, a blue flower, part of an egg, a long twig, etc.
- Play a game of outdoor hide and seek
- Set aside a section of your garden where your child is free to dig and grow using their own tools and watering can. Use a window box if you have limited space
- In the autumn collect conkers and see if they can grow their very own tree
- Go fly a kite!
- Set up a bird table or feeder, or make a bug motel to attract more wildlife
- Build huts and dens out of rocks or fallen branches
- Go along to one of your local Big Toddle for Barnardos events, and enjoy all the fun of a family walk together!