Nowadays children do not experience nature as much as in past generations. Indoor activities, gadgets are the main competitors of playing out. The natural world is the best environment for children to explore, absorb, and enjoy. Playing outdoors in nature can be beneficial for children developing them intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically, and discover activities for fostering their development.
We believe that enrolling children in gymnastics or karate classes will be enough to accomplish these goals, but that’s not true. They may certainly have a positive impact on health and fitness, but exploring them in the natural world is the best gift we can give them for a life long connection with nature.
Exploring nature provides endless possibilities for play and imagination from natural materials like pine cones, grass, rocks, leaves, rain, dirt, seashells, pebbles, and sand. These things don’t come with direction. Here child has to use their skills, imaginations like what they can with these things. How they can use these materials? Nature inspires children to formulate their own ideas.
Benefits Of Playing In Natural World
Due to an increase in technology access, children are going outside, much less frequently than in the past generation. Going out and exploring nature helps children experiencing a free-flowing environment that stimulates all the senses. Outdoor play helps children’s intellectual, emotional, social and physical development.
- Intellectual Development: Natural wold is very big & give great learning opportunities as natural world open-ended learning laboratory. Children love to explore the natural world’s sights, scents, sounds, and textures. It also gives opportunities for discovery, creativity, problem-solving.
In the natural world children innate-like scientist and do experiment with the ideas. Children develop their inquisitive minds in nature by thinking, questioning & making hypotheses. Nature activities which can nurture their intellect are:
- Build with and dig in the dirt
- Listen to the bird’s sing
- Smell fresh-cut grass
- Collect seeds
- Construct things with twigs and mud
- Emotional Development: Being outside children is free to explore, make noises & can show all forms of self-expression that are often restricted indoors. They can run, jump, climb, roll, and shout, which relaxes, and reduces tension & anxiety. Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder feel calm by playing outside. Nature brings out a sense of peace & nurturing qualities in children. Many energetic children spend focused time playing with a stick in a mud puddle or slow down to dig a hole in the sand.
- Social Development: Children who play outside, grab the opportunities to interact with new and different playmates. There they can play alone or can connect with others and play. They learn to share & solve their own problems. In the natural environment, they make their own games and set the rules according to their wish as there are no prescribed set of instructions. When exploring outside, active children may slow down and learn to focus on being gentle. Also, they develop empathy & can console a friend who seems hurt or sad.
Physical Development: Nature offers endless opportunities for physical activity and helps in building strong bodies. It is also beneficial for a strong immune system by getting vitamin D from sunlight. Playing outdoor also allow a child to be more physically active than indoor play. Also, burning calories and helps a child’s overall fitness. Outdoor activities which help in physical development are:
- Tree Climbing
- Chasing a friend or a bird
- Standing on one foot
- Jumping over or into puddles
Outdoor exposure of children benefit in many ways, but they still need your supervision. If you join them their unstructured outdoor play will enhance. You can also offer guidance when your child tries new activities that may seem challenging.