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Benefits of Outdoor Play

Oct 28, 2015

Many of us have great childhood memories of playing outdoors – I know I do! Running around, climbing trees, building dens, making mud pies and  inventing new games that kept us occupied for hours – these are all things that contribute to a happy, healthy upbringing. The chance to connect with the natural world; first hand experiences of life and growth; endless opportunities for creativity and imagination; improved fitness and physical development – the countless benefits of outdoor play have a real positive impact on children's lives.

Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage benefit from spending a lot of time outside whatever the weather. This makes a significant contribution to the progress they make particularly in their personal, emotional, social and physical development.

Try not to let bad weather put you off, play needn’t be spoiled by a bit of rain. In fact, children are usually less worried by a little cold and rain than their parents, especially if they’re running around and keeping warm! If it’s wet and muddy outside, why not dress them in old clothes and wellies and let them splash around in puddles!

At Dizzy Ducks we believe in the benefits of fresh air and physical activity every day. We haves created a safe free flow play environment in all our Preschool rooms, which offers children the choice to have uninterrupted play experiences inside and out.

Play for children is most rewarding when they start it themselves, and it doesn’t take much to spark a child’s imagination. Given half a chance children will throw themselves into outdoor play at every opportunity. The outdoors are full of open-ended resources that stimulate children's imaginations. For example, a stone could be buried pirate treasure, a plate for a pixie, food for bear, a wall for a castle, a car for a bug or many other things. We have some fantastic loose parts resources in all our gardens ,the children have access to old tyres ,crates, pots and pans ,fir cones  pebbles ,shells ,bark chippings for endless imaginative play. We also have a digging area where the children can plant vegetables and nurture them to grow and then cook them for a tasting experience.            

Part of our Improvement plan  at Hainault this year has been to develop  our front  garden  into an outdoor classroom with equipment made from natural  resources, there is a mud kitchen, a summer house, a buddy bench, a bug hotel, a bamboo cave and some wigwams a sand pit and  lots of aromatic plants have been planted for sensory exploration. This is now a beautiful play space for children to experience some wonderful outdoor learning within all the 7 areas of learning of the EYFS. 

Children are motivated to talk by stimulating experiences and being outdoors gives the children plenty to talk about. As Childcare practitioners we are trained to extend children’s play with open ended questions to support learning As practitioners we understand the value of these experiences. At every opportunity   we promote high-quality talk that develops the children's confidence and speaking and listening skills.

When they have ideas of their own, encourage the children to develop them and see where they take them. 

Allow Children to test and stretch themselves . Remember, small risks are an essential part of play, which often means mastering new tasks or conquering fears. This is an important part of developing new skills and independence. The key is knowing the risks involved and balancing them with all the benefits and rewards of playing outdoors.


Playful parenting tips: 1. Do let them enjoy physical challenges like climbing trees. Children learn through taking risks.2. Don’t be over-protective if the worst that can happen is a bump or a scrape. . 3.Do get outdoors and play, in all weathers  it’s healthy, and if they get dirty or wet, well that’s what baths and washing machines are for. 4.Do think of the things you most enjoyed, the chances are your kids will enjoy them just as much!


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Mayflower Nursery in Billericay

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