Exploring the natural world, developing their sense of identity and confidence, building skills that will set them up for life… The benefits of outdoor play in early years are plentiful.
Whether you’re enjoying time in the back garden or heading out for the day at the local park and all its attractions, playing outside is important for children’s learning and development as they try to get to grips with the world around them.
Outdoor play heightens all their senses, offers first-time experiences, and helps them work through the many emotions they feel.
Here, we look at varied and vast benefits of outdoor play for toddlers, pre-schoolers and beyond, and highlight the best ways to get your little one interested in the great outdoors.
Promoting physical skills and self-expression
IMAGE CREDIT: Little Tikes Cozy Coupe
One of the most obvious benefits of outdoor play is improved physical wellbeing. Fun outdoor activities for kids might result in lots of laughs and happy memories – and that’s a fabulous bonus! But, behind the scenes, little ones are developing their fine motor skills, building their physical strength and generally improving their overall health. Whether you have a baby enjoying tummy time on a picnic rug or a pre-schooler rushing around building a den in the garden, all that fresh air works wonders for growing children.
Little Tikes Cozy Coupe (Link to Cozy Coupe https://littletikes.com.au/product/cozy-coupe/) remains one of the best-loved outdoor toys for children up to five years old. They’ll get plenty of exercise in, whether they’re rollin’ while a grown-up pushes or they’re older and using pure stomping power to move!
Meanwhile, the great outdoors provides little ones with a safe space to make lots of noise, let off steam and burn energy! It’s a great wellbeing booster, as they use this time to test boundaries, explore their capabilities and identity, and build the type of confidence and independence that’ll eventually see them succeed out in the world!
Always learning – and feeding their imagination
IMAGE CREDIT: Little Tikes Turtle Sandbox
Children make play wherever they go – it’s adorable to watch and even better to know that while playing, they’re constantly learning. Encouraging outdoor play facilities learning at any age, as they explore the natural surroundings, play make believe and make up their own rules for fun outdoor games. For kids, this type of play is invaluable! Choose the right toys for outdoor play and their imagination will do the rest.
A first slide becomes the fastest rollercoaster ride in the world, or a sandpit becomes a deserted island as they dig for buried treasured! Something as simple as a pile of crispy autumnal leaves can provide endless fun for children too, as they explore colours, sounds and textures and learn all about seasons and environmental changes.
Group play and the social skills
IMAGE CREDIT: Little Tikes Island Wavemaker
Wondering how to encourage outdoor play? You’ll likely find it’s not that difficult to coax little ones outside – they’re natural drawn to bigger, more open spaces in which they can burn off that boundless energy! The more confined spaces of indoors can have an impact on how children play in groups – you might notice your child withdraw or become shy because it feels too overwhelming. An outdoor environment – a natural setting – for their play has the opposite effect. In small groups, they’re given the space to interact with other children, work together to solve problems and generally enjoy each other’s company. Help their growing social and emotional skills with toys like Little Tikes Island Wavemaker Water Table (https://littletikes.com.au/product/little-tikes-island-wavemaker/ ), Cape Cottage playhouse (https://littletikes.com.au/product/cape-cottage-playhouse-blue/) and TotsSports Easy Score Basketball Set (https://littletikes.com.au/product/totsports-easy-score-basketball-set/) – each one encourages group play and will help build their skills and emotional confidence.
Keen to get outside and watch your little one reap the rewards? Discover our favourite Little Tikes toys for outdoor play. Alternatively, find out how you can enjoy a summer of fun with Little Tikes!