Playing outdoors has lots of health and psychological benefits, especially if children can play freely in natural spaces, but even half an hour in a playground or the garden can help children develop healthy habits and a range of skills that they may find challenging. Child Psychologist, Dr Amanda Gummer and her team at the Good Toy Guide offer their expert advice when it comes to safe play outdoors.
Playing outdoors is a critical part of a child’s upbringing as they learn to master physical skills through exploration of the outside world. They learn valuable skills that will benefit wellbeing and develop their education and skills including social competence, problem solving, creative thinking and imaginative play. The outdoors environment is also important as the natural light stimulates and helps regulate a child’s biological clock, which is vital to the immune system and positively contributes to a child’s health.
However, research shows that three-quarters of children spend less time outside than prison inmates, which has lead to a growing concern about the lack of opportunities in outdoor play. Parents are aware of the pressures of TV and other screen devices and these can act as distractions for playing outside. Kids need motivation and being enthusiastic to play outside is one way of getting them away from screens.
So what is the solution?
Dr Amanda Gummer suggests that “Parents can arrange play dates at the park or playground rather than in someone’s home, so parents have people to talk to and children get the extra benefits of socialising with other children as well as playing outside. If there’s a safe play space near the home encourage older children to play out together and give them boundaries and timings to encourage trust and self-reliance.”
Our Good Toy Guide also has a range of outdoor toys for children that can encourage them to have fun outdoors, keep them active and enhance those skills. As with all toys on the Good Toy Guide, they have been tested in our play clubs and approved by our experts!