The weather is picking up and the daylight is here for longer so it is now time to spend those hours in the garden. To motivate myself and my family to move from the sofa, through the french doors, to the garden I have been listing the benefits of outdoor play for all of us.
• You move differently and more often when you are in the garden. Children can engage in more physical activity which in turn helps their development.
• It is easier to experiment – with noise, with large objects and anything that needs space. The sense of freedom gets the kids more active and active kids are happier kids.
• You use all of your senses outside. You see the difference between light and shade, your sense of smell is heightened, and you can hear what is going on around you.
• You are literally closer to nature and your kids can observe the birds, minibeasts and monitor the plants growing and other changes in the garden.
• You can get stuck into gardening – digging, growing, weeding and watering – the children can have a go at them all.
• You are more aware of the elements and weather. You can feel the wind and see it moving the foliage, smell the rain and splash in the puddles.
• Outdoors is great for messy play with water and sand, glitter and moon sand, in fact, any craft activity.
• If the kids are outside you are likely to find yourself outside more.
• You can be more creative outside – the more time you spend outside the more you will want to. Think about spending time your front garden as well – it’s a great way to catch up with your neighbours.
• It’s an easy way to stay fit – all those running around games, mowing the lawn and digging. Apparently if you weigh 10 stone, an hour spent weeding uses 290 calories whereas you will use only 60 calories watching TV.
The garden is not only the best children’s playroom in our house, it also an outdoor gym, chill out space, and sensory room for us all. It is a fantastic and indispensable resource.