The benefits of outdoor play for children's development

Buitenspelen is gezond voor kinderen

The weather is gradually getting nicer again in the Netherlands. In fact, in a few months, it will be summer again! That means temperatures are rising, days are getting longer, and we're spending more time outdoors enjoying the lovely weather. It's the perfect opportunity for children to play outside with friends. We'll explain why outdoor play is so good for your child.

Why is outdoor play healthy?

Let's get straight to the point: outdoor play is incredibly good and healthy for young children. It's beneficial for their physical development because they can run, jump, climb, and play freely while outdoors. As your little one performs all sorts of antics on the jungle gym, their motor skills such as coordination, balance, and endurance are also being stimulated. Moreover, outdoor play provides children with the opportunity to develop their social skills. Whether on the playground or in the neighborhood, they play together with other children, learning to communicate, collaborate, and enjoy jokes and laughter together. Strangely enough, outdoor play also enhances the ability to build and maintain relationships. Of course, creativity and imagination are also on the list of reasons why outdoor play is good for children. It allows them to invent their own games and create adventures. Will they go on a safari through the jungle this time, or do they need to rescue a princess from the castle?

How to encourage your child to play outdoors more often

Although outdoor play positively influences various aspects of children's development, getting them outside isn't always easy. Fear not, we have some tips to help get the kids outdoors:

Tip 1: Make outdoor play enjoyable

Playing outside in an unsafe street or a dull neighborhood isn't always fun. It's not surprising if children refuse to play outside in such situations. Therefore, it's important to take them to locations where they can have fun. Think of the playground, a park, or the woods. Here, they have all the space to run, climb, and play freely.

Tip 2: Ensure your child has someone to play with

Another tip to encourage outdoor play is to provide a playmate for your child. You can do this by playing outside with your child yourself or by involving other children. Children often enjoy playing together more, and they'll be more inclined to go outside if they know there are other children to play with. So, invite friends from the neighborhood, cousins, or other children from the family or circle of friends to come and play.

Tip 3: Set a good example

We could all do with spending more time outdoors. Lead by example as a parent and show that you value outdoor play. For example, take a walk together with your child or go cycling when the weather is nice. Children are like parrots; they want to do everything their parents do.

Tip 4: Limit screen time

Nothing nowadays is as deceptive as tablets and television. Yes, giving your child a tablet for distraction is indeed easier, but it's not healthy. As a parent, you can make agreements with your child about screen time. Encourage your child to play outside after school, and they can watch something indoors later. But often, they're so busy playing outside that they forget about the tablet altogether.

Does your child enjoy playing outdoors, and what do you do as a parent to encourage this healthy behavior? Share your tips in the comments!

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