This post is written on behalf of Born to Toddle team.
There’s a lot being discussed in the media about kids spending too much time indoors. It’s not as boring a point as it seems. Yes we all know kids need more fresh air and exercise, and we all desperately want them to happily build forts with sticks, and play make believe games in the grass. But there’s more to it than you might think. As well as all the obvious benefits, your child is also building many important life skills.
Here are 5 ways outdoor make believe is useful for your child:
1. Outdoors is great!
So why outdoors and not indoors? There have been many studies done which highlight the benefits of the outdoors with children and adults. There is mounting evidence to suggest that being outside reduces stress levels, encourages creativity and improves concentration in children. It may not feel safe to let your child play on the street any more, but there’s always the garden, or the local park!
2. ECO Babies
Schools are really embracing environmental education and awareness. Children are being taught very early on about the world and how to be environmentally aware. Very young children will experience this on a much more intense level as the issues become increasingly relevant in years to come. The Government is encouraging everyone to get involved and become educated about these issues. Playing outside not only allows your child to recognise and discover the world and all it has to offer, it also teaches them to appreciate and respect it. Your garden is a tiny ecosystem and your child will learn all about that and how important it is.
3. Child skills lead to adult skills
When you think about make believe playtime you think about paper airplane flying and princess dress up time. Imagination actually plays much more of a key role in our adult lives than you might realise. We need this skill to allow us to problem solve and visualise solutions, to think ahead and plan our time, to understand how other people are feeling and to enjoy pastimes like reading or watching films. The more your child can develop their imagination now the better. Placing them in an environment with little or no stimulus apart from the scenery itself really pushes your child to use their minds and imagine.
4. It increases their and your fitness
Obesity is at epidemic levels. It is likely that health will become a bigger educational focus in the future. The more space your child has to play in, the more likely they are to run around and use that space. Hopefully you’ll have fun and run around with them – why not unleash your inner child? Before you know it you’ll be having an amazing time and not even notice all the calories you’re burning!
5. It’s great for your bond
Playing make believe with your child makes them feel like you’re in their world and you understand them. As well as them having alone playtime try and spend some time out there with them – they will treasure those memories.