Right from the start, it’s important to get babies and children outdoors. Dress them for the weather and get out there. A little bit of gentle exercise for you will raise your endorphins and heart rate and make you feel better about the lack of sleep you’re getting! The baby will hopefully fall asleep and if not, they will enjoy the fresh air and stimulation.
After the baby stage when they are on their feet, it’s time to start exploring the parks and playgrounds with your little explorer. Once they can sit up, try them on the swings – the movement and interaction with you will have them giggling with glee.
Once they are fully in the toddler stage and beyond, the outdoors is so beneficial to them. Here are just some of the ways outdoor play is great for children of all ages:
- Keeps their bodies healthy – vitamin D
- Helps them be creative
- Burns calories
- Learning through play
- Social skills
- Mental well-being
- Promotes Independence
My children are often happy just playing with sticks and open spaces. Give them the duck pond, a bridge and an open field and they are so happy. My 9 year old son moans when he has to leave the Playstation, but once he’s out he loves it! It gives a sense of freedom and family bonding which you just can’t buy or bottle. Of course they love a playground, especially when we find a new one with different play equipment to explore.
One of their favourite places to go is our local British Legion park and cafe, it has a poppy sculpture to play in, a huge wooden walkway and treehouse plus slides, a sandpit and swings. The playground flooring is soft squishy tarmac and wood chip. I get a tea and lunch boxes for the kids and in good weather we stay for ages. It’s small enough to see what they’re up to but big enough for them to be occupied. The picture above with the geese is Leybourne country park and lakes, which we love walking around and then a stop at the playground at the end completes our outing.
The other thing we love to do as a family is a walk in the woods. There’s so much to do – exploring, foraging, finding sticks and pinecones and seeing animals in the fields and trees. We look for fairy doors and animal holes. Where we go there’s a bridge over a train track and we wait for the train to come before going on our walk.
What’s your favourite outdoor space?
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