The Kids in Nature program is designed for parents who endorse the idea of children playing outside! - YES in the dirt, rain, snow, and of course, the mud! We have created a space in our beautiful forest that connects children to nature while providing a fun, interactive and safe learning environment.
It has been well documented that children are spending more and more time indoors. This has led to numerous studies which highlight the negative impact this is having on our kids’ health and development. At the same time, research has also revealed that there are many benefits to children playing outdoors. Here are just seven of those benefits:
Playing outside helps children to develop their learning abilities. By putting educational equipment outdoors, children are soon learning through play, which is a fun way to glean new information and skills. Additionally, outdoor learning encourages children to think of education as an ongoing process instead of just something done in the classroom.
Outdoor play is great for encouraging children’s ingenuity. Away from the constraints and confinements of indoor play, children’s imaginations are stimulated by the objects around them and they quickly tap into their creativity.
With more room to play in, it follows that children are more physically active when outside. Physical health leads to the development of strong bones and muscles, and also enables them to burn off extra energy and calories. Furthermore, being in the sunshine (even in winter) means children naturally absorb vital vitamin D, a lack of which can lead to Rickets.
4. Social skills
As outdoor spaces tend to be less crowded than indoors, it can be less intimidating for children to come out of their shells and be more social. This means that children will be more willing to join in games and activities, while they will also be more likely to talk to different children and make new friends. Learning social skills and how to interact with other children away from adult supervision is a key step in healthy development.
The freedom of playing outdoors facilitates feelings of happiness and calmness. Vitamin D, which is proven to help improve moods and create a positive mental attitude, abounds! The liberty of outdoor play also encourages children to get rid of pent up energy, particularly if they tend to be fidgety when sitting for long periods of time. Ultimately, we believe that more outside time will only help kids when it comes time to focus in the classroom.
Our large outdoor play space means that children are often away from direct adult intervention. This helps them to learn self-reliance and independence when socially interacting with other children, as well as learning to play by themselves. They learn how to take turns playing games, to pick themselves up then they fall, and how to negotiate unfamiliar equipment.
Whether it is encouraging children to use slides or climb, or to try challenging play trails; outdoor play equipment often has a modest amount more risk than indoor toys. Outdoor play equipment can help children to learn to push their boundaries and become good at risk-assessment. It also teaches them to explore new games and become confident in trying different things without being guided by adults.