As the weather warms, the sun shines and kids start clamoring to go outside, the child care center becomes a place where little learners can start exploring the many benefits of the great outdoors. While this doesn't mean that your tot will spend their entire day outside, it's likely that they'll get to experience play outside of the daycare's four walls on a daily basis (weather permitting).
Along with the enjoyment your child gets from outdoor play, what other benefits does this activity provide? Take a look at the reasons why early childhood centers take their young students outside every day.
Nature and Science
The play area at your child's daycare center may not exactly equal "the great outdoors." But that won't stop them from getting science-focused benefits. Even if there isn't a wooded area, a football field of grass or a garden that's growing tall, your child still has the opportunity to explore nature through outside play.
The natural sciences invite exploration, experimentation and discovery. And your child can do all of these outside. Whether they're watching the weather, looking at a blade of grass with a magnifying glass or viewing the birds that are flying overhead, toddlers and preschoolers are building science basics.
Gross Motor Development
Not only does outdoor play help young children to develop science skills, but they can also build their gross motor (large muscle groups) abilities too. While outside children have the chance to run, jump, skip, hop, roll or move in many other ways. Even though your child certainly has the chance to move during indoor play, the outdoors provide a much larger space. This gives young children a sense of freedom, allowing them to move in different and often 'bigger' ways.
Organizing an outdoor play activity doesn't have to mean telling the children precisely what they will do. Instead, the outdoor area provides a place for open-ended activities that help the child to think out of the box. This could include encouraging the children to create their own movement game, letting them loose to develop their own pretend play narrative or simply giving them the chance to think about how they can use outdoor play equipment in different ways (such as turning a climber into a castle).
Outdoor play is part of the child care center day. Along with the awesome opportunities your child gets to engage in beneficial indoor learning activities (such as math, science, art, music, social studies and other topics/concepts), the outside area adds another layer of learning opportunities that can lead to greater growth and development