The importance of happy outdoor play is essential for the well being of children and adults alike. Out door play enables children to connect with their environment and gives the freedom and space to develop gross motor skills.
Running, jumping, hopping, skipping, playing ball, shouting, singing and discovering - the list of possible outdoor activities is endless! Fresh air and exercise promotes better sleep and reduces stress and anxiety. Whenever my kids begin to get a bit stir crazy in the house, we get our shoes on and go for a long walk. Arguments and squabbles are usually forgotten about when we get home.
A few years ago in my job as a teaching assistant I supported a child with autism. Whenever his anxiety levels were high we used to head off into the school woodland, we spent a lot of time building dens, rope ladders, taking photo's of plants and sometimes just sitting in the peace and quiet. On return to the classroom we were usually ready to re focus.
In fact all five senses are used in outdoor play and the senses are heightened.
- Sight - colours of nature, flowers, hand eye co-ordination,
- Sound- trees, wind, water, birds, voices,
- Touch - textures of natural materials, games, water, flowers, plants, snow,
- Smell- grass, flowers, seaside, barbecues
- Taste - berries, herbs (with supervision), picnics, ice cream, alfresco meals, vegetables from the garden.
Why not try growing a magical, growing bean tent to play in?
Thinking back to my own childhood, all the best memories I have are of playing outside with my friends, day trips to the beach, bike rides and generally just playing until it was too dark to play anymore!
As a parent now, I feel it's my job to create memories for my own children. Let's face it no one remembers the amazing time you had playing on the computer or watching TV!
My kids are never happier than when they find a stream, beach or river with a good selection of pebbles and stones to play skimming with. The person who gets the most dips when skimming the stone is the winner!
A deserted woodland with lots of fallen branches makes excellent den making material and encourages communication and team work as everyone works together
Of course outdoor play is not without risk. It was only last week that my daughter sprained her ankle. As a parent you kind of develop your own way of turning tears into smiles when accidents occur. Cuddles, distraction, frozen peas, first aid kit and Elastoplast plasters all feature! The Elastoplast plasters are even more of a hit when they feature their favourite character!
Of course there may be a need to hide the plasters once used and try and save them for real emergencies. My twins have used half the pack of frozen plasters already for non existent scrapes!
This post is an entry for the BritMums #TearsintoSmiles Challenge, sponsored by Elastoplast. I received a garden game and plasters for taking part.