At Lit’l Scholars Learning Centers, every one of our child care programs includes a significant amount of outdoor activity. From preschool and afterschool care to our summer camp programs and everything in between, we ensure your kids get plenty of time to enjoy and explore the great outdoors while getting valuable exercise in the process.
Both at home and within childcare programs, spending time outdoors is a vital factor for childhood development that research has shown to be valuable in several ways. In this two-part blog series, we’ll go over some of the top benefits of outdoor time for children in their development, plus some general tactics for increasing the outdoor time your child takes advantage of despite modern society’s obsession with screens and indoor activities.
Confidence and Responsibility
For one, time outdoors – especially in organized programs like recess or other child care activities – can go a long way toward childhood development in areas like self-confidence and responsibility. Kids can learn how to treat nature, for one, and can begun to understand how their actions impact other living things.
Through these experiences, young children often gain a better understanding of simple cause and effect. These kinds of activities help them build empathy and focus outwardly, even as many of their earliest instincts are mostly inwardly motivated.
Stimulates Creativity and Development
The outdoors also offers limitless opportunities for creativity and imagination, big factors in childhood development. A big part of this is sense stimulation – being outdoors activates senses like sight, hearing and even smell in very different ways than indoor activities.
In addition, kids being outside together in formats like recess or free play offer them chances to flex creative muscles. They have to determine their own ground rules or play formats, allowing them to interact both with natural surroundings and each other in healthy ways.
Movement and Child Health
On a simpler note, outdoor activity promotes exercise and movement, which are vital for kids of all ages. From physical fitness to helping with focus (particularly for kids with ADHD), this kind of exercise is extremely important. As many parts of society move toward a more sedentary lifestyle, it’s vital to impress upon children the importance of movement and time spent outside.
Finally, while some might not think of children as particularly stressed, they experience this feeling in different ways. They are often easily distracted, for instance, which is a form of stress. Natural environments like the outdoors provide what researchers would call “soft fascination,” a low-stress kind of attention that brings positive feelings to the brain. These can be particularly beneficial for children.
In part two of this series, we’ll go over some tactics for increasing child outdoor activity. To learn more about this or any of our child care programs, speak to the staff at Lit’l Scholars Leaning Centers today.