Kids Running To Outdoor Playhouse

5 Reasons Why Outdoor Play is So Good for Kids

Fresh air, sunlight, your heart pumping a wee bit faster. Outdoor play makes us all feel energised and it is my go-to Mum move when my girls are losing it…or myself for that matter! But what little bit of extra magic is going on when playgrounds are involved…?

1. Physical Development

Whether it’s their biceps from swinging across the monkey bars, or their wee hand muscles manipulating sand in the sandpit, outdoor play engages our kid’s senses and activates their muscles, making them stronger, more confident, and capable.

2. Cognitive Development

It is easy to take simple concepts for granted. Adults know that when you push the swing one way it will come back the other. Or if you let go of your dump truck at the top of the slide it will go flying. Kids are constantly exploring the world and playgrounds help develop these problem-solving skills so they can make sense and test how it all works.

3. Language Development

“Higher” is a word my three-year-old is quite familiar with. There is only one place I hear her say it to me though, and that is on the swings. On the playground our kids are introduced to new words and meanings during play.

4. Creative Development  

Imagination is a beautiful thing. A cubby house is a great place to escape into a world of your own - playing, starting a project, exploring an idea, testing a material. Giving our little people their own space to explore in this way helps build resilience, self-esteem and autonomy.

5. Social and Emotional Development

“Ten more and then it’s your sister’s turn.” This is a regular approach we take trying to support our girls’ cooperative skills…and a staple of our playground time when our girls are wanting what the other has. Playgrounds are the perfect place to learn about fairness, test decision making, self-expression and develop meaningful relationships as well as empathy. This is not to say our girls aren’t outraged at the end of their turn though…

Outdoor play is the best! This is all something we intrinsically know. Whether it is swinging from the monkey bars, zooming down a slide or digging in the sand pit, with regular outdoor play your kiddo will be developing physically, emotionally and cognitively.




Free to Roam | RNZ ; Encourage natural curiosity

Expert feature: Playgrounds! | RNZ

Bringing nature to school playgrounds | RNZ

The importance of exercise for kids to build bone density | RNZ

Child Development at Inclusive Play. (2020). Swimming in Australia, 47(1), 68–69.

Foulds, K., & Bucuvalas, A. (2019). Playing Every Day on Sesame Street: Global Learnings from a Play-Based Pilot Intervention in India, Mexico, and South Africa. American Journal of Play, 12(1), 17+. 

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