Better for the Brain and Body
The Effects of Outdoor Play on Gross Motor Development
Children challenge their coordination and their vestibular system, also known as their “balance sense,” by moving in all directions while climbing trees, scaling rock walls, rolling down grassy hills, and running from one place to the next. They develop strength and endurance by hiking up hills and carrying heavy rocks, bricks, and sticks.
The Effects of Outdoor Play on Attention
Children improve their attention span when they play outside on a daily basis. Increased movement and activity helps to stimulate and ignite the brain for sustained attention to task.
The Effects of Outdoor Play on Visual Skills
Frequent movement opportunities support a healthy vestibular (balance) sense. This strong vestibular sense supports all six eye muscles for reading, writing, and accurate eye-hand coordination skills.
The Effects of Outdoor Play on Auditory Processing
Playing outdoors provides ample opportunities for children to naturally practice auditory discrimination skills, such as listening to the differences between a Robin call and a Chickadee call, or locating a friend calling their name in woods.
The Effects of Outdoor Play on Fine Motor Development
Grabbing hold of heavy and large objects like tree limbs helps develop strong grasping patterns in little hands–getting the hands ready to do finer and more delicate work such as holding a pencil. Tying knots to secure a fort or whittling sticks before cooking over an open fire all further strengthen essential fine motor muscles.
The Effects of Outdoor Play on Social Skills
Ample, unrestricted outdoor playtime leads to creative social adventures amongst children. They create their own societies in nature, build structures together as a group, and dive into imaginatory games with peers.
The Effects of Outdoor Play on Creativity
Children are often inspired to think independently and openly when their environments are carefully crafted to allow ample time, space, and opportunity to design, construct, experiment, problem solve, and use their imaginations.
The Effects of Outdoor Play on Emotional Stability
Getting plenty of movement affects the body’s ability to regulate emotions and activity level. Research proposes that spending time in nature also lowers cortisol levels in the brain, promoting calmness and improved mood.
The Effects of Outdoor Play on Conflict Resolution
When children are encouraged to build, create and play together, they will also be faced with differing viewpoints and ideas that challenge them to problem solve as a group and resolve potential conflicts.
For More About the Benefits of Outdoor Play, Check Out Our Podcast
Our podcasts feature tips on creating inspiring play spaces, child-led play, as well as the vestibular and developmental benefits of outdoor play. To access the podcasts, please click here.
We have been observing significant physical and behavioral growth and improvements in TimberNook children, reinforcing the value of outdoor play.
Our programming allows children to explore, create, take risks, and dive into their imagination.