Get outside and play!

A blast of fresh air is just what’s needed to beat lockdown cabin fever – for you and your little one. But it’s not just about having a change of scenery: outdoor play is vital for your child’s development, from motor skills to creativity. And, when done responsibly, it’s more important than ever in a Covid-19, ‘cooped-up’ world.

Many studies show that outdoor play is not only necessary for your tot’s health, but also for their brain and body development. According to the Harvard Health Blog, sunlight is needed to make vitamin D, which helps with bone development and boosts much-needed immunity, while unstructured time playing outside helps foster creativity and imagination. Other studies show that young children need at least one hour of physical activity a day, and getting outside for active play takes care of that.

You don’t necessarily need a big garden or access to a nature for your child to enjoy the benefits of outdoor play. If you live in a flat or in an area that doesn’t have many green spaces you just need to think a little creatively…

Here are some fun things to do outside with your little one (or, bring the outside in, if need be):

  • Raining? Put on some gumboots and a rain-jacket and jump through puddles
  • If you have a garden, let your child help you plant and weed (or, get some pot plants, or watch beans grow in cotton wool)
  • Go outside and collect “treasures” from nature
  • Use a magnifying glass to investigate the yard
  • Make a mud pie
  • Climb a tree (if it’s safe to do so, of course!)
  • Go on a garden scavenger hunt
  • Make a fort in the yard
  • Make a leaf scrapbook
  • Find shapes in the clouds

Children need to be encouraged to spend less time on screens, and explore the outside. It’s good for their bodies and brains. Plus, it’ll be good for you too!