Playing Outdoors: A Well-Rounded Learning Experience for School-Age Children

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Playing outdoors isn’t just about burning off steam for children.It’s really a crucial aspectof needed growth and developmentfor each child.

WhyOutdoor Play Matters

Here are a few of the many benefits from allowing children to engage in outdoor play:

  • Children need vigorous exercise
  • Improved communication and social skills
  • Sunlight exposure produces needed Vitamin D for bones
  • Increases attention span and boosts cognitive abilities

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Creating Outdoor Learning Areas & Spaces

Here are a few elements that are beneficial to incorporate into a proper outdoor play environment:

Outdoor Learning AreaSuggested Activities and Materials
Nature Area Give children some fun and meaningful ways to interact with nature.  Set up a garden or discovery area with items to explore and handle like seeds, leaves, barks, fossils, etc.
Social Area Outdoor play itself can be social, but this area gives children more quiet space for focused reflection and social interaction.  Picnic tables, benches, and designated cozy spots in the playground area all work well for socialization.
Sensory Area Include activities, materials, and stations which allow children to explore and discover through sensory engagement.  Water tables, sand boxes, digging tools,outdoor musical instruments, and other event stations are all great sensory area options.

Popular Playground Equipment Options to Consider

A well-designed playground is an ideal space for children to exercise, have fun, and grow important skills, all at the same time! Here are some great elements worth including:

  • Manipulative Panels
  • Water & Sand Tables
  • Inclusive Play Elements
  • Themed Play Elements
  • Outdoor Musical Elements

Ready to dig deeper in learning about well-rounded outdoor play environments?Check out the complete infographic about outdoor play from your friends at Carolina Recreation & Design!

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