My kids undoubtably NEED time outside – without fresh air and space to breath they alternate between extreme grouchiness and hyper activity. There is absolutely no doubt that they have both benefitted from attending nurseries that have prioritised time outdoors through forest kindergarten schemes and my policies insisting on time outdoors.
Today, I’m delighted to be sharing a post from people who have really taken that further. Riverside Cottage Nursery is an outdoor nursery based in Bathgate, near Edinburgh and today are sharing exactly why kids should play outside in all weathers:
Wait. Kids should play outside even in the rain? Yes! And a big, FAT yes at that! There is a whole range of benefits as to why you should encourage your wee ones out to play no matter what the weather. Here’s why:
Exercise is important regardless of the weather
Children who spend time outdoors tend to run around more, as well as climbing, jumping and balancing, so they’re fitter and healthier than kids who spend most of their time indoors. And when they’re on the move in all that fresh air, kids don’t tend to feel the cold as much, either. Bonus!
Being outdoors will boost their immune system
Embrace the filth! Your bath should need a good scrub after your child has been washed. Children who have regular exposure to dirt, bacteria, animals and insects have stronger immune systems – and who wouldn’t want that for their offspring!
Nature play will get them thinking creatively
Playing outside usually means kids are entertaining themselves or making up games with friends, often using open-ended natural resources. Enjoying time without video games and other tech is a way to get creative and enjoy using the imagination to have fun, instead of just being given it on a plate.
Developing resilience is important for life
If kids all spend all of the time in centrally heated environments, they don’t develop the resilience they should have to handle life’s challenges! Getting absolutely drenched to the skin or having their hands aching with cold gives kids first-hand experience of why waterproofs, coats and gloves are a good idea – but it’s not until they’ve experienced the discomfort (and the life lesson) that they’ll want to wrap up.
Outdoor play encourages appreciation of the natural world
Kids who spend time outside in all weathers are more in tune with the seasons and their own body. Being outside in the cold means kids may have a better understanding of why animals hibernate and why trees lose their leaves. They will carry this interest and curiosity into adulthood.
Developing problem-solving skills is vital
Kids have to calculate and work out a lot of things when they are outside. They learn how to climb a tree or a wall – or where to plant a foot to scale or descend a steep hill. And the best way to problem-solve is to work things out for yourself, instead of being shown.
Kids need Vitamin D!
We all need a good dose of vitamin D to be healthy – but kids need it to absorb calcium and promote bone growth, The best way to get their necessary intake is by spending time in natural sunlight. Get them out there to bask like a lizard!
It’s important to enjoy the simple things
The sun on your back, the wind in your sails…some children can struggle to find everyday life enchanting, or find pleasure in simple things. This is especially so for those who live in privilege, in heated homes with many toys at their disposal and with a wealth of digital entertainment. Children who regularly enjoy getting wet, muddy and cold will be more likely to have an appreciation for the joy of a warm fire, a steaming bowl of soup or a mug of hot chocolate.