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Outdoor play is very beneficial for children – but tends to happen less and less. Whether this is due to weather conditions or the increasing amount of time spent indoors looking at screens and devices, there is no doubt that it’s having an impact on the next generation of kids. A wealth of research has found that, while a lack of outdoor play can have a negative impact on the health and development of children, there are lots of benefits to encouraging more of it. Here are some of them.

Improving physical health. Outdoor play areas tend to be larger than those indoors and provide much more space for children to run around and explore. This helps to boost activity levels, which improves overall physical health. Playgrounds, where there are markings and equipment, can also help to increase the level of activity involved.
More activity means lower rates of depression and anxiety. There is a lot of pressure on children today, whether that comes from academic achievement or trying to fit in with others and the cultures that are perpetuated online. Outdoor play is an environment that exists away from screens and away from the classroom so it’s a space where children can put their worries aside and just be kids. Physical activity is often a great way to help where anxiety is concerned so more time in outdoor play can help to improve mental health too.
Playing outside improves learning and development. There is so much scope for creating outdoor spaces that are a hive of learning and development today. Many of the skills that children are being taught in the classroom start with the lessons that can be picked up during outdoor play. So, outdoor play is a great complementary activity to intellectual learning.
Behavioural impact. Where children are regularly engaging in outdoor play this can have a really positive impact on behaviour. For example, research has found that when children engage in regular physical activity they are much more likely to be able to stay focused and concentrate when they return to the classroom. This can result in improved behaviour inside.
Unstructured play is vital for children. Most outdoor play tends to be unstructured, which means that there is lots of room for engaging the imagination and being really creative. Younger children tend to benefit particularly from this, as unstructured activity is a great way to learn more about the world through role play etc.
Safety and distance. It’s crucial for children to feel safe in learning spaces and that’s something that is easily achieved with outdoor play. Here, enough distance can be created from adults for children to feel independent but adults can also keep an eye on what is happening in an outdoor playground and ensure that everyone remains, and feels, safe.

Encouraging outdoor play is vital for children of all ages. It is a crucial part of healthy development and can help with many of the big challenges that children face today, including rising levels of anxiety.

Abacus Playgrounds is a leading installer of playground equipment and surfacing, including playground markings, MUGA’s and much more. If you’re looking to revamp your playgrounds, request a quote from us via our “Contact Us” page.