Outdoor play is necessary for the healthy physical, mental, and emotional development of children. But, research has shown that children are spending more time indoors than outdoors today. Increased screen time, virtual schooling, and the COVID-19 pandemic have all contributed to children staying indoors more and not playing outside. Outdoor play is developmentally essential for all children, especially those on the autism spectrum. Let’s go over some of the benefits of outdoor play.
Improves Motor Skills
Running, jumping, and climbing are key ways children explore and develop their motor skills. Outdoor play has been shown to give children more advanced motor skills, including balance, agility, and coordination. By allowing children to test and improve their physical abilities, they strengthen their bodies and become more confident in their movements.
Improves Social Skills
Interacting with classmates during the school day helps children develop their social skills. However, outdoor play can also aid in shaping a child’s ability to communicate, cooperate, and organize effectively. Playing outside often requires imagination and teamwork, which helps children have positive interactions with each other. All the practice of taking turns, sharing, and collaboration leads to cultivating critical behavioral skills and is one of the greatest benefits of outdoor play.
Offers a Sensory Experience
Playing outside helps children use all five of the senses to experience the outside world. Children learn through their senses, and being out in nature allows them to see, hear, touch, smell, and even taste their environment. All of this expands, improves, and enhances your child’s sensory skills.
Increases Attention Span
When children play outside, their curiosity about the world grows. They are free to roam and explore wherever they want to. Engaging in self-directed explorations allows them to remain focused on a task for longer. Children who play outside in a self-directed way have an increased initiative to do things on their own. They are also more drawn to engage in activities they have never done before. Studies have found that children who have attention issues have seen a decrease in their symptoms after spending more time playing outdoors.
Encourages an Appreciation for Nature
Studies have shown that children who spend more time outside and feel connected to nature grow to be more environmentally responsible than those who do not. Children who learn about the plants and animals in nature develop a greater appreciation for the world we live in because they can see it firsthand. This appreciation leads to compassion for preserving the spaces they love because they recognize the value of it.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.