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Why outdoor play is important to childhood development

Children need to remain active throughout the day. Promoting outdoor play allows them to get fresh air and explore their environment. Hands-on learning, the natural environment and loose parts in the outdoors stimulate children’s senses through what they hear, touch, see and feel.

Outdoor play is an important part of childhood. It’s exciting to see children in their natural environment – exploring their surroundings, being curious about what’s around them, and finding joy in seeing new things.

At a young age, I always remember running around the park, digging and dumping the sand in the sandbox, and climbing up and going down the slide.

The Importance of outdoor play and physical activity in a natural environment

It is sad to see children spending less time having outdoor playtime. A recent study in the UK found that children today spend half of the time outside compared to their parents. As an educator, I know how vital outdoor play is to a child’s overall development and learning.

Studies have shown that children can learn a lot from playing outdoors – from improved spatial recognition to simply understanding environmental tendencies. Simple activities such as seeing leaves change, running and jumping in rain puddles, or watching the flowers sprout during the spring, can make such a large difference.

The benefits of playing outdoors

Outdoor play improves physical development

There are many benefits of outdoor play. Physical skills are important for growth, physical coordination, gross motor skills, movement of the body, the immune system, and mental health. When children play outdoors they increase their ability to balance, jump, climb, throw, run and skip.

Make more friends!

Outdoor play provides the opportunity and can encourage children to gain social skills by interacting, collaborating, and negotiating with other children in outdoor environments.

Increased imagination

Being outdoors and doing physical play gives children the opportunity to pretend to be anything they want when they play games. For example, a bear in the wild or a chef in the kitchen.

Gain knowledge and appreciation for the natural world

Children learn about the natural elements and their surroundings when they are outside. For example, they learn about the weather, the change in seasons, and different animals that are found outside.

Easy and fun outdoor activities

Flower ice cube sensory play

You will need:

  • 2 ice cube trays, water, a bunch of flowers from the garden, and a freezer


  1. Place one single head of a flower in each cube.
  2. Pour water over the flowers and place the ice cube trays into the freezer and leave overnight.
  3. Take the trays out of the freezer and push the flower ice cubes out into a bowl.

Chalk roads

You will need:

  • 1 bucket of colored chalk and an empty area in the playground on the concrete.


  1. Draw big and small circles and color them in and draw vertical and straight lines.
  2. Let the children jump from circle to circle and walk along the vertical and straight lines without falling over.
  3. Make a game out of it and let the children balance, run, jump and skip. Allow children to explore and have fun.

Make sure you’re not missing learning milestones by leveling up your observation techniques!

10 tips for effective observation in early childhood

why outdoor play is important to childhood development

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  • Sneha says:

    very nice idea..i will sure try this in summer…thanks a lot

  • Thank you for the information. This content is well-detailed and easy to understand.

  • One Palm says:

    Exactly, children play outdoors they increase their ability to balance, jump, climb, throw, run, and skip.

  • Kathy Zack says:

    Hi, amazing article. Outdoor play is the important part of child development. They grow both physically and mentally. Thank you for sharing such wonderful information.

  • Andrea says:

    Childhood development is very essential for children. This post describes tis important issue. Thank you fort eh post.

  • Teena says:

    Create play zone .Develp your kid motor skill

  • Jenjo Games says:

    I must this is one of the best blog which I have read till now. Agreed with what you said, outdoor play is an important part of childhood. It only develops their physical strength but also fosters their imagination skills. But due to technological advancements, kids are more inclined towards playing online & video games. This some or the other way have a bad affect on overall growth of a child. This blog is a must read for all parents, which clearly explains the importance of outdoor play for kids. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Anna says:

    Play never stop
    We are comprehensively manufacturer, suppliers and distributers of different wide range of indoor playarea

  • Thanks for providing information

  • It’s interesting that you mention that playing outside is good for a child’s physical growth. I want my kids to grow up to be strong, so I’m thinking about finding some activities for our family to do outside. I’m going to search for a good business that offers outdoor activities for families in our area.

  • Carolyn Gill says:

    Thanks for sharing such nice information.

  • useful post

    thank you for sharing

  • Sheila Ann Shepard says:

    Very good ideas I will try with my group of children

  • Alaska says:

    Games play a vital role in every child’s life. This article describes all the essential points of outdoor games which are so effective.