Thursday 14 November 2019

CHILDREN: Why Playing Outside Is So Important

CHILDREN: Why Playing Outside is so Important
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The great big outdoors...a place for learning, exploring and adventuring for all ages, but why is embracing it so important for our children? Anyone who has children will know how hard it can be to keep them entertained; they seemingly constantly need stimulus or focus and making the most of outdoor play is the perfect way to take a step back from technology. Technology is a big part of all of our lives nowadays, there's no escaping it; whether you're watching television, playing computer games, browsing social media, taking photographs or learning via apps it creeps into our day to day life with worrying ease sometimes.

Although I completely agree that there is a role for technology in our children's lives, I've always chosen to be on the firmer side of what and when Isabella and Poppy are allowed to interact with it. They don't have any access to tablets, apps or phones, instead their only access to technology is watching television and Isabella goes on the computers at her school. This is of course our personal decision as parents and there is absolutely no judgement for other parents choices for their children; we're all just trying to do our best at the end of the day. 

If you take a similar approach to technology or you're wanting to encourage your children to embrace the outdoors throughout the year then I thought I'd share just some of the incredible reasons (for both them and us as parents) why playing outside is so important:

  • Learning and Development - Children thrive to learn and there is no denying that the outdoors, nature and everything that comes with it offers the perfect opportunity for them to explore. They can explore their five senses, discover where their food comes from, where different animals live, practice their gross motor skills etc. They can also use bug catchers to observe minibeasts, use sticks as nature's paintbrushes, splash in muddy puddles, grow their own vegetables/plants, make soup in a mud kitchen, develop their mobility by playing on a climbing frame with slide (Wickey has a seriously impressive range - see below - if you're looking to have one in your garden), hunt down treasure with clues etc. The list of activities for outdoors that supports children's development is almost never-ending and if you're ever in need of more inspiration then Pinterest is my 'go-to'. 

  • Better Sleep - Playing in the fresh air and making the most of the vast space are both good ways to help encourage a good night's sleep for your little one. They will be exhausted from running around, climbing, balancing etc. that they will be ready for bed when the time comes. 

  • Healthy Lifestyle - We are constantly being told about the importance of physical exercise, getting moving and eating the right kinds of foods; playing outside is an ideal way to instil that into your children from a young age. I don't know about your children, but if mine aren't given the opportunity to run off some of their seemingly endless energy each day then they become more irritable. Teaching them about the important of getting moving, the effects that has on the body (increased heart rate, use of muscles etc.) and the kinds of foods that are better for us all helps to set them up for later life. 
  • Environment - This is a hot topic in the news at the moment, as there is quite rightly a lot of pressure to lead more environmentally-friendly lifestyles. A problem that certainly isn't going away and one that will in fact be a bigger issue for our children, so educating them through play is really important. Their environment is on your doorstep, so taking time to appreciate, nurture and improve it are all beneficial to not only the planet, but their understand too. 

  • Social Skills - Unstructured play is the ideal opportunity for children to put into practice their social skills with their peers. This works particularly well if you meet up with friends at the park or have them over to play in the garden because it allows your child to independently learn how to deal with negotiation and perhaps any conflict that arises. 
  • Increases Vitamin D - The UK isn't known for it's long days filled with sunshine, so doctors often recommend that children take a vitamin D supplement. By spending time playing outdoors children are being exposed to more vitamin D in it's natural form (sunlight), which is important for bone health. 
These are just a few of the reasons why playing outside is so important for children and why we as parents encourage Isabella and Poppy to embrace the beautiful world around us. 

Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)

Helen x


  1. Great post this! Sometimes I think enough people don't realise just how many social benefits there are for kids when it comes to playing outside!

  2. My kids are much better behaved if they are out in the fresh air, we prefer to be out than couped up at home

  3. i so agree , outdoor play is very important in social / mental as well as motor skills for our children , plus fresh air is so good for them

  4. I encourage as much outdoor play as possible. It's not just fun, it's also healthier for them then being cooped up indoors.

  5. We love getting outdoors when we can. Erin loves to get wrapped up and get out.

  6. We're a family that love to be outdoors and at this time of year we love to go on a walk. We then have a nice hot chocolate to warm up. the perfect combination

  7. I couldn't agree more - getting outdoor is beneficially for the whole family, for your mental wellbeing as well. Great post

    Laura x


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