We all know that children’s video and computer games are becoming more and more apparent in their playtime routine. We are also aware of the potential drawbacks these activities can have on a child’s mental and physical development. However, you may be surprised to know that a survey released in early August 2006 by the Children’s Play Council found that 86 percent of children prefer outdoor activities, including playing out with their friends, building dens and getting muddy on climbing frames, to playing computer games.
Nearly three in four kids (72 percent) would like to play outside more often.
Parents have an important role in making sure that their young ones can get out and play in natural environments.
Tips to help you ensure kids are getting what they want from playtime:
- Find out where the nearest natural spaces are to you. Children need everyday nature. This includes free access to parks, gardens, city farms, village greens, hedgerows and rough ground within easy reach of their homes, as well as visits to woodlands, beaches and open grassland further afield.
- Provide old clothes and outdoor gear. This will help children play naturally in all weathers. Getting muddy, wet or sweaty and coming home with snagged or grass stained clothing is just part of playing outdoors. Opportunities to play with nature, through climbing trees, exploring the world of animals, building dens or making mud pies are fun and help children to cultivate an awareness of and respect for nature.
- Help children take risks in play, like climbing trees. Kids need and want to take risks through play. Playing in natural settings allows children to find ways of challenging themselves and taking risks that fit them as individuals. Be open and transparent about what is involved in natural play activities so that children playing outdoors can experience the fun and excitement of stretching and testing themselves.
- Find your nearest adventure playground. If parents and kids prefer to play with adults around; adventure playgrounds usually have some natural areas. In some areas, there may be playworkers or park keepers who encourage children to play in natural spaces. Ask you local park experts what supervised play opportunities are provided locally.
- Purchase outdoor Play equipment for the Garden. If you have a garden then our wooden outdoor play equipment is the perfect answer to providing the kids with outdoor play. With it being so close to home, you don’t need to take time out of your busy schedule; you just need to open the back door!