Outdoor play is an essential part of growing up. It helps children develop their social skills, physical skills and emotional control. There are also health benefits to outdoor play such as children getting their daily dose of Vitamin D.
By interacting outside with others, children learn how their actions can impact their friends and peers. This can be very important in all aspects of life. It helps them learn how to co-operate, to complete tasks, and how to compromise, so they, and others, don’t get upset.
At the same time, being outside in nature has a positive effect on children’s emotions. Most children will calm down when they are given the chance to play outside. This can be from a combination of outside stimuli and the chance to exercise.
Be Cautious, But Not Too Cautious
One of the things to remember is that you need to be cautious when outside. There are some major risks outside like bee and wasp stings. You should be especially wary when you have children with allergies to these and take the appropriate precautions.
However, there are some risks you needn’t be too worried about. Stinging nettles for instance shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Children who are stung by stinging nettles will soon learn that they aren’t pleasant and will avoid them in the future. This is an important lesson for some.
Do Your Checks And Be Prepared
To ensure children are safe, but learning, you will need to look at your risk assessment and make sure you have the best proactive and reaction plans in place. In addition, check with your insurance that you are covered for outside play.
You might need additional cover if you plan on going on a trip outside your setting to see nature. Some insurance policies won’t cover outdoor play when not on your premises. So always get some form of recorded confirmation of what your insurance covers and get extra cover if needed.
In addition, children should be involved. Talk to them about the behaviours and actions you expect from them. When they carry a stick, or are around fire, what should they be doing? Get them to learn about the consequences of not being safe around these items and how their behaviour might make them, and others, feel.
Setting these ground rules for outside play is important. But you might also need some way to grab the attention of children when the excitement gets too much. This could be a whistle or a bell. Something that is loud and grabs their attention immediately. This piece of equipment can be vital when children aren’t following ground rules.
If outdoor play is a chore, your children won’t like it and won’t engage in useful sessions. Children learn better when motivated and enjoying themselves, so the most important element is to make outdoor play fun.
Able Canopies Ltd. design, manufacture and install canopies and shade structures
at schools, nurseries and educational settings to enable year-round
Free Flow Outdoor Play and Outdoor Learning.
For more information please contact us