What are the Benefits of Outdoor Play?

Playing Outside Improves Mood


This post was sponsored by Landscape Structures as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Have you noticed a change in your children when they're playing outside? Sure, they may complain that they're tired or that it's too hot or even that they're bored. However, outdoor play benefits kids in many ways. Once children have built the coping and social skills needed to interact in an outside play environment, the benefits of outdoor play far outweigh their complaints! What are the benefits to outdoor play? Keep reading to learn some tips on how to keep your kids happy outdoors.


What are the Benefits of Outdoor Play?
What are the benefits of outdoor play?


Be Prepared. 

When you take your kids to an outdoor play space or local park, be sure to be prepared. Bring a cooler with bottles of water for hydration, cool, healthy snacks like carrots and cucumbers, and go ahead and throw in a treat for when they've depleted all of their energy. 

You may also want to bring a change of clothes, a non-toxic bug repellent, a blanket for resting, hats or sunglasses to shade them from the sun, and a first aid kit. Whatever you can do to insure the happiness of your children and counteract any excuses they may have for not wanting to play, only increases your chances for success.

If you're forgetful and always seem to forget the essentials, keep a park preparedness kit in your car. We never leave the house without folding chairs, a vinyl table cloth, and an umbrella packed in the trunk. If you leave a mini cooler in the trunk, it's always waiting there to be filled. You can simply stop at any convenience or grocery store along the way.


Benefits of Playing Outside


Best Places for Outdoor Play

No matter where you choose to incorporate outdoor play, it's beneficial to your child. Simply being outdoors in the sunshine can boost your child's immune system because the sun gives us vitamin D which is essential to health and happiness. Dr. Clare McCarthy shares some benefits of outdoor play over at Harvard Health. Even if you have a tiny yard, be sure to create a space for your child to get in some daily outdoor play. If they like to color or finger paint, set up a table for crafting outdoors.


Water is the most fun element of sensory play.

A well designed play structure will keep your kids busy for an hour or two. You may not be familiar with the brand name Landscape Structures, but I'll bet you've seen one or two. These playground structures aren't just for swinging and sliding, they're set up with all kinds of ways to get kids moving and to encourage sensory play.





When you give children the freedom to play and discover on their own, they build self-confidence to explore more things on their own. They want to see what else they can discover without mom or dad. So, sit back and relax while the kids explore the outdoor environment and find new ways to have fun.


Hello, over there! This megaphone encourages interaction with others.


Landscape Structures playgrounds are designed to welcome children of all ages and abilities. This play equipment has all kinds of sensory elements and play activities that encourage kids to work together making it easier for them to socialize with others. These playgrounds also encourage exercise, but don't worry, your kids will have so much fun playing on the equipment they won't even know they're exercising!


Sneaky playground equipment encourages exercise.

Sensory play aids in the learning process. Children who play outdoors have more access to sensory elements as the five senses are involved in nearly every aspect of outdoor play. They hear other children laughing, birds chirping, and bugs buzzing. They feel the wind on their face and the grass on their feet. They can even taste the outdoors when berry picking or licking their salty lips.


Practicing on the bars builds upper body strength and self-confidence. 

These poles encourage learning to balance.

What will you do when it's raining? Rain is the best sensory activity! Grab an umbrella and some rain boots and slosh through some puddles with your kiddos! Reach up to the sky and savor the raindrops as they splash on your face. Show your children that rain is fun, don't discourage it. Rain even smells good! These days, most parks use rubber mulch. If storms do force you to stay inside for awhile, don't worry about the playground being wet. Be a good parent and take the first trip down the slide to dry it off for those finicky little ones.

Encourage social interaction with other kids, but don't force it. Kids are smart, they know what you're trying to do. If they're moody, they'll fight you every step of the way. Also, simply knowing that you want them to interact with other kids can make the feel self-conscious. They may feel too shy to talk to another child when they know that you're anxious for it to happen. Pretend to keep busy reading a book or returning a text. Don't get too caught up though, those little eyes are always watching you. Sometimes, they want you to watch them and know that you're proud of them. Always be ready with a thumb's up!

A simple way to encourage socialization is to point out a favorite character on another child's clothing. "Hey, look he's wearing a dinosaur shirt. Don't you love it!" Your child may not respond, that's okay. Don't push them. You've given them something to talk about. You've made a connection with another child. Sit back and watch what happens. Socializing may start out awkward. If you have a backward child, trying to force it will certainly backfire. Learn to be happy with a nod or a smile. The rest will come with time.


Playing Outside Improves Mood
Outdoor play improves mood.


Some benefits of outdoor play.
Sleepy kids!


As an exhausted parent, one of the best benefits of getting in a lot of outdoor play time with the kids is that you'll get to enjoy some down time when the kids take naps. Even if they are past nap taking, they'll probably stay quiet for the car ride home! Be careful not to let little ones get too over tired. Often, an over tied preschooler will have trouble sleeping through the night. They need just enough exertion for a good night's sleep. And no one wants an over tired toddler...


Recommended:

More Ways to Play from Kids Creative Chaos

Rainy Day Boredom Busters

Learn more about Landscape Structures Playgrounds

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Lora Langston
Lora Langston

Lora is a homeschooling mom, writer, creator of Kids Creative Chaos, and Director of the Play Connection.

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