This was a small study conducted in an outdoor educational project for young children. This study reinforces the findings in other studies about the benefits of outdoor play.
Benefits of outdoor play
- Fresh Air
- Exposure to harmless microbes
- Being Active
It is harder for your body to stay healthy when we spend a lot of time indoors. The air inside gets circulated continuously and we end up with ‘stale air’.
When outside you can breath in fresh air. Fresh air cleans your childs lungs and will help him or her think better. It also provides energy.
Our brain needs oxygen to function well. Both to concentrate as well as to function to its best capacity.
Oxygen also relaxes as serotonin is released with oxygen. A hormone which relaxes you and refreshes you.
With free unstructured play children have
- many chances to grow.
- a chance to learn through trial and error.
- a chance to test their limits (of which children are very aware when left to their own devices)
- a way to develop creative thinking
Examples of testing limits are jumping over ditches, climbing trees or a game of pushing each other of the log.
Feeling of freedom and control
When children are inside for long periods of time, it is very hard to get rid of energy. And lets be honest, children have a lot more of it than adults!
When children have a chance of playing outside, noise and boisterous behaviour is almost expected by teachers and parents alike. The same noise level inside however will cause an unlimited amount of stress and anxiety. Mainly by the adults.
Children need to let of steam, to run around, to make noise.
Here is a list of 10 Great Free Things to Do with Kids to help you get started to get out more!
When children can play outside they have a feeling of control. They can play what they want. But also with who they want. If they don’t want to play with someone, there is space to move away.
This means that children are more in control of their situation.
A lack of control will lead to frustration.
Overall research shows us that outside play promotes cognitive, physical, social and emotional well being in children.
Why don’t children play outside anymore even though there is so much evidence it is so healthy and needed?!
Do your children play outside enough?
I would love to hear your opinion on this!
This is a great video by Project Wild Thing about even more benefits of Nature! Enjoy!