How Outdoor Play Time Helps Develop a Child’s Mind & Body

Basic child psychology teaches us that children need interaction with others to develop social skills, speech and listening skills. Conversing and bonding through play with their peers, teachers and parents all contribute to a deeper understanding of the world and create thought systems and processes that will help them later in life. This is basic social skill development. However, all of this cannot be taught in a classroom by itself.

So what about outdoor play? How does that help a developing child? Since social development is so important, maybe we don’t need to spend too much time on outdoor play, and switch our focus to indoor activities that promote social skills and knowledge instead?

Here is what outdoor playing gives the developing child:

Physical development

For a three year old, motor skills are something they aren’t good at yet, but it is something they will need if they ever want to play sports or be good at P.E. class. At age three, taking a child to a play ground or getting a swing set in your back yard is something they will greatly benefit from. Taking the time to let them play and climb will benefit their strength and coordination, and you will see it improving from week to week.

You’ll get to experience the “Hey, look what I can do!” excitement, and it’s fun to watch them progress at physical play. Motor skills development increases coordination, and at age 6 or 7 this increase in coordination will be shown in their confidence level. The statement of “Look what I can do” changes to their saying “I can do that too!” with the confident child.

Strength building isn’t just for boys. Girls need it too! Parents should give their daughter an advantage with the life-view that she can do anything she sets her mind to. A physically adept girl will be a confident girl.

Team Play and Group Play

A second lesson from the playground is that it teaches kids to get along with each other. At a public playground or school play area, kids must take turns, play together, get along and be friendly to each other. The playground is where all the social skills you’ve taught them come out and reveal themselves. If a child is selfish or won’t share, you’ll see it on the playground. If they are bullying other children, you will see that too. Children can also be perfect angels, and play with everyone in harmony, and that makes a parent proud!

Be sure to take the time to go to the playground on the weekends, or get a backyard play set for your children so that they can enjoy it every day! The lessons they learn will be used for a lifetime.

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