The Importance of Outdoor Play for Development

Fox Therapy Services • THE BLOG •

It goes without saying that we have all been spending a lot of time indoors lately. However, it is important to keep in mind that outdoor play and activity is extremely instrumental in a child’s development for so many reasons! Outdoor play offers many benefits such as:

  • Opportunities for activation of our eight sensory systems
  • Developing motor planning skills
  • Building problem solving skills
  • Fine motor and gross motor development
  • Full body strengthening
  • Improves body awareness

Providing opportunities for outdoor play (especially unstructured/free play) allows a child to work on all of these skills in addition to tapping into their imagination and ideation (generating and developing new and creative ideas).

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that children get at least 60 minutes of moderate-vigorous physical activity throughout their day including aerobics (such as running) and bone strengthening and muscle building activities (such as jumping and climbing). The CDC’s recommendation is that these three types of physical activity are done at least 3 days out of the week for a minimum of 60 minutes per day in order to support your child’s physical health and wellness.

Guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommends that adults that care for children should encourage them to participate in outdoor, active play that includes a variety of activities. DHHS notes that most common, school-age activities such as jumping rope or playing on a playground cover many aspects of development at once. 

Especially during these unprecedented times, it is so important to encourage and provide opportunities each day for outdoor play to support a child’s overall development. So get outside and play each day!

With warmth and Gratitude, 

The Fox team

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