When we encourage the children to play outside, it isn’t just because its good exercise. Hidden amongst the obvious elements of movement, vitamin D and fresh air, there is a lot more going on.
When children ‘play out’ their brain begins to really kick into action. The frontal cortex (the front part of the brain) begins to make links between what the children are doing e.g. running, digging, balancing and how they can use those skills to navigate new situations. The simple experience of playing outdoors forces the brain to make those much-needed connections that are critical to a child’s overall development.
The rules in outdoor play are often very different than in a ‘class room’. For example, ‘indoor voices’ and ‘walking feet’ are pushed to one side, making way for loud, excited and fast-paced children. Whilst seemingly burning off energy, what they are doing is learning how to navigate around objects, learning to adjust their own volume and making up their own rules for activities that are far less structured than in an indoor environment… and that’s just to name a few of the vital learning moments that take place.
So next time you see us playing out, take a look for yourself and see if you can spot what the next learning moment might be!
Assistant Manager, Cinderford Setting