In the run up to Christmas, when children’s spirits are particularly high and energy levels are peaking, it’s often difficult to curtail the frenzy, and parents and teachers everywhere have soaring stress levels and depleting vitality. Outdoor playtimes are vital for letting them burn off energy.
However, nobody wants to see children NOT getting excited, it’s all part of the Christmas fun and to be honest it would be pretty miserable if children were not enjoying themselves. It’s more a matter of how to encourage them to expend their energy so that the little ones are happy, healthy and ready to go to sleep when bedtime comes!
One of the best ways of course is to encourage outdoor play. There really is nothing better for tiring kids out than an hour or two in the fresh air; running and climbing, jumping and exploring and playing games and joining in with one another is all great for physical, social and emotional wellbeing.
Here at Discovering Days we are strong advocates for inspiring outdoor playtime. We have seen the benefits this kind of fun can bring to both parents and teachers and those who work in the childcare sector, and we appreciate that for this kind of play to take place, children need to have robust and expertly manufactured play ground toys, something we are extremely good at!
Want to find out more about our ideas for outdoor playtime? Read on…
Evidence Based Research on the Benefits of Outdoor Playtime
There are loads of scholarly articles based around outdoor play being beneficial to the development of a child and one particular academic has come up with 10 very good reasons for encouraging children to play outdoors.
Jessica Winn, who completed her doctoral studies in clinical psychology at the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University cites that, amongst others, the advantages of outdoor play includes improving a child’s ability to learn, increases a child’s memory capacity, decreases attention problems such as ADHD, promotes creativity, reduces stress and anxiety, improves physical wellbeing, encourages unmitigated joy, and develops a life-long relationship between humans and our planet.
And it’s no coincidence therefore, that esteemed journals such as Science Direct highlight the connection between increasingly sedentary lifestyles being a contributory factor to the rise in childhood diseases, including obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Equipment to Encourage Outdoor Play
With this in mind, taking children outside to play is obviously good for their overall health and wellbeing and having the right equipment in the playground is naturally going to make this task a whole lot easier, particularly on a cold, wet and windy day in December!
Here at Discovering Days we manufacture the highest quality, wooden, outdoor play equipment, and all of our products are hand crafted from a certified and superior sustainable timber source, primarily Scandinavian Redwood. Interestingly, Scandinavian Redwood can be planted, matured and felled in the space of 25 years, where as it takes a good 60 years for a classic Oak tree to reach maturity.
The additional benefits to this type of wood is that is very durable, long-lasting, has a delightful smooth finish, and is easy to treat, making it perfect for children’s play equipment; and if we are going to encourage our kids to play outside, surely it is an important factor to provide equipment up to the task?
Which of course begs the question, what can children do outside in the winter months? The answer is everything they do in the summer, only in their wellington boots and waterproof jacket!
Imagine the delight of playing pirates on one of our beautiful boats? A bit of rain and wind can only fuel their imagination of being on the high seas, being buffeted about on the waves, looking for treasure and avoiding capture by the Kings navy.
Or what about hiding away in one of our excellent Hobbit Homes? Plotting adventure and mystery, peeking through the circular window and shutting the latch down on the little round door to keep out any would be intruders!
There’s also of course, our Outdoor Classrooms. Perfect for a bit of shade in the summer and more than ideal for protection from the elements during the winter months, these solid constructions can add valuable space and depending on which model you choose, can accommodate a large number of children plus teacher. We deliver and assemble our Outdoor Classrooms on site, and provide additional planters with the hexagonal style which provide not just a secure anchor, but also a visual appeal that can be decorated and planted to suit every season.
Social Interaction for Kids
Encouraging outdoor play is also excellent at developing those ‘soft skills’ that are necessary for children to mature in to the world around them.
Communication and language are one of the fundamentals of learning, but the classroom is not the only place this learning can occur. Children behave much more freely during play time, and in an unstructured situation this is when their imaginations are at the most furtive and they learn from their peers, not just from the adults.
Any kind of imaginative play also encourages a more caring, sharing and thoughtful child, and importantly leads to better results through adolescence and in to adulthood. You only have to look at the school system in Finland and other Scandinavian Countries to see how successful and how important play time really is.
So if you’re a teacher or nursery assistant, and you feel motivated to promote outdoor play as much as we do, then that’s great news, and honestly the children in your classroom will always be grateful to you. You’ll be the ‘cool’ one who all the kids remember with great fondness as they grow up and move on, and crucially, you will have given them that most valuable asset of lots of outdoor play to aid their future development.
If you want to know anything more about our products and services then you can contact us here or call 01282 416 755 to speak to one of our dedicated team who will be delighted to discuss any requirements for play equipment, large or small. We have wooden toys to suit all budgets and all sorts of playground space, don’t for one minute think you have to have a great big playground to make room for a piece of wooden play equipment that will last for years and provide endless fun!