In modern times, entertainment has become an industry. Television enchants young children with bright colours and playful characters. Video games offer a window of interactivity into a vibrant world. The Internet provides a gateway to a wealth of knowledge and new experiences. It’s not hard to see why, even when the sun’s out, many children still choose to stay indoors.
Here at Wicken Toys, though, we still firmly believe that kids need to experience the great outdoors, as it provides a stable base for development – not just physical, but emotional, social and cognitive development too. It seems we’re not the only ones...
All learning is based on sensory information, meaning what a child can see, hear, feel, smell and taste. The outdoor environment can provide stimulation for all these senses – think of an outdoor picnic in a verdant forest, the scent of dew fresh on the grass, with a blackbird singing nearby.
Merely staying indoors in front of the TV only stimulates the senses of sight and hearing, which has been suggested to affect perceptual abilities later on in life in too great a concentration. Children are energetic, especially the little ones – many parents understand the trouble that can come from kids expending too much energy indoors.
Outside they can do this without jumping on the sofa and breaking the chairs. Swings provide a way of learning about the basics of balance and physics, while climbing frames aid in early muscle development. It goes almost without saying that a great deal of children’s play is imaginative, especially when playing with friends or siblings. A little imagination can go a long way to creating games, environments, scenarios and whole stories. Apart from reinforcing cognitive processes, this sort of play encourages the development of social abilities.
Children learn to communicate by playing with each other, and creating games (and the rules thereof) can help with self-confidence, teamwork and vocabulary skills. Even the smallest efforts go a long way in early developmental play time. The process of merely throwing and catching a ball between two children, for example, exercises motor control, spatial awareness, cooperation and social interaction, while being outdoors reduces the risk of any expensive electronics being broken! In addition to the developmental bonuses of outdoor play over its indoor counterpart, there are a plethora of health benefits.
Outdoor play is, with few exceptions, more energetic, and therefore burns more calories. This is obviously a good way of lessening the risk of obesity, which in turn lessens the likelihood of associated health problems in the future, such as heart trouble and cancer. Sunlight and fresh air have also been shown to have long-term beneficial effects on mood and general well-being too! Of course, be careful with direct sunlight, and make sure your kids have enough protection.
Here at Wicken Toys we stock all manner of imagination fuelling and energy releasing outdoor play equipment, from go-karts for little speed demons to swimming pools for cooling off in the summer. Come and visit our massive outdoor display to see what we have on offer for your children today!