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Why Your Child’s Success Depends on Playing Outdoors

By Whirl Construction (776 words)
Posted in Commercial Playgrounds on August 13, 2015

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When children play they are actually exploring the ways of the world on their own terms. They can apply the concepts they learn in school and practice them through play with others. They learn how to negotiate, how to set boundaries, and often uncover new ways to use their imagination.

Through play, they will develop the life skills that will carry them through adolescence and into adulthood. Your child’s success depends on playing outdoors because the multi-sensory experiences they find there will help them develop the mental, emotional, and physical capabilities they need to grow up healthy, adjusted, and full of confidence. Encourage your children to play outdoors and watch them develop the following skills.

Play Increases Attention

Unstructured play gives children the chance to explore the world on their terms. All of their senses will be put to the test as they see, hear, smell, touch, maybe even taste the environment around them. They will be responsible for organizing this information and prioritizing their tasks in a way of their choosing, and learning to pay attention to what’s important is a valuable lesson disguised as play.

The more they use all of their senses at once, and the more they are encouraged to pay attention and make their own decisions in multi-sensory play, the more likely they are to have improved attention spans during school and homework.

Play Promotes Problem Solving

Have you ever seen children playing in a large group? Notice how the play will sometimes stop as the kids work through the next obstacle of their game. This practice in problem solving will be applied later in life, but as kids develop it on the playground, they will be learning how to solve their own problems with their own skills.

This is especially important because this experience will teach kids how to set their own boundaries and negotiate their needs with friends, family, and everyone else they come across as they grow up. They will learn what lines of thinking bring them success and which fail, and learning this valuable lesson early on will make growing up easier.

Play Teaches Empathy

Empathy is an important part of your child’s emotional development. Playing outdoors promotes a respect for other living things, both animal and human, as children play together and interact with animals and bugs in their environment. Developing empathy means your child will be able to consider another person’s feelings when making decisions, and this can manifest through play as they learn how their actions have consequences based on the emotions of others. They will also discover how another’s actions impact their own emotions, and they will learn how to set boundaries for themselves later in life.

Play Stimulates Creativity

Children use their imaginations all of the time, but even more so while playing. They create their own worlds, make up their own games, and can then share these imaginative playscapes with others. An outdoor playground can become a castle, a scary forest, or an amazing ethereal realm for children to explore and navigate.

All of the things they see outside, even down to the simplest rock, can become whatever they want it to be for the purpose of their playful game, and using their imaginations in this way will help increase their critical thinking and problem-solving skills when the head back into the classroom.

Exploring the endless imaginative experiences outdoors will help them bring this big thinking to more realistic scenarios as they grow, and they will be able to pull from a lot of experiences in order to make the most informed decisions later in life.

Play is Healthy

The physical benefits of play are numerous, and encouraging your child to play outside will help reduce their risk of obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other health problems later in life. Running, jumping, and climbing are all a natural part of outdoor play, but they will also strengthen your growing child’s muscles and bones.

Starting outdoor activities that don’t look like exercise this early in life will help your child recognize how important it is to be healthy. Instilling a health consciousness now will keep your child healthy all of their life, and when they realize that exercise and play are interchangeable, they will be more likely to pursue physical activities on their own.

Your child’s emotional, mental, and physical success depend on playing outdoors. There are so many parks and playgrounds being built in neighborhoods today with exciting new equipment and safety surfaces, making it almost impossible for children to ignore the invitation to play.

Check out some of the playgrounds Whirl has put together for local children in our neighborhoods and ask us how we can help your child and your family succeed with a new playground.

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