Outdoor Learning Environments: Child Development in the Fresh Air
Outdoor learning environments give children the opportunity to experience something outside the classroom. Allowing them to embrace the freedom of the world and experience everything that it has to offer.
Playgrounds are an excellent way of giving children this opportunity. They help with improving motor functions, they give them the chance to overcome fears and understand that they can climb that ladder and they can fly down that slide. Playgrounds offer the chance to expand their imaginations, play creatively with friends and, perhaps most importantly, learn about the world in the fresh air.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Playing in fresh air is excellent for both physical and mental health. Instead of hanging out in playrooms which can be cramped and full of stale air, children have the opportunity embrace nature and have more room to explore.
This contributes to better grades as healthier children do better in school, which sets them up for a lifetime of success. By cultivating a positive association with the outdoors, children will embrace the world around them and be inspired by curiosity to learn more, seeking more and more information as they start to understand what it is that surrounds them.
There is also a social aspect to playing outside. By having the chance to interact with their peers and explore their imaginations through creative play, children will improve their social skills and learn to cooperate with others as well as make new friends.
It’s Only Natural
While some children will be able to see the natural environment throughout the day, there are others – especially those who live in big metropolitan cities – who do not get such a luxury. Because of this, it is crucial that the natural environment is imitated whenever possible to educate the children that the world is much more than just high-rise buildings and endless traffic.
Imitating nature through modern playgrounds helps to inspire a love of the outside world within the child through positive association. Many adults spent their days climbing trees and exploring through bushes and now children of the present can do the same through playgrounds constructed to imitate such scenery.
It is crucial that an appreciation for nature is cultivated for children in their early years so that they learn responsibility for the world around them. By encouraging a love for the planet, these children will grow up with a dedication to sustainability and seek solutions to helping the planet. Creating modern playgrounds with sustainable materials helps contribute to this by demonstrating how such sustainability is possible which children can see, learn from and use such knowledge in the future.
The Whole World is Our Playground
By incorporating nature into the playground, whether it be hills, boulders or trees, children develop and understanding of nature and increase their knowledge about the world around them.
This sensory experience is excellent for teaching them how nature looks, feels, smells and (with some children) tastes. By providing them the chance to learn through physical interaction with the world around them, they understand more than they would if they had just read it in a book.
They can learn about sand by holding it in their hands. They can watch how water flows by spinning tanks before their eyes. They can witness gravity in action by leaping from platforms, and they can see the changing of seasons by watching flowers blossom and tree leaves emerge from buds on branches. Learning outdoors in the fresh air provides children with the most authentic education possible.
Modern Playgrounds vs Traditional Urban Playgrounds
The modern playground has revolutionised children’s relationship with playgrounds to encourage an appreciation for nature. Instead of being merely monkey bars, slides, and little huts that were found in the traditional playgrounds of the past, the modern playground makes the surrounding nature a contemporary instead of merely a backdrop and makes nature part of the playground experience.
With the interactive aspect of modern playgrounds, children will learn as they play without even realising it. They will see elements change over time. They can splash and dig and get a little bit messy when exploring what the playground has to offer. This increases understanding of the planet and helps children learn from experiences.
Existing landscapes are ideal for creating a link between real life and play, which eliminates the idea that certain environments are only appropriate at specific times. Here, children learn that everything is connected and helps encourage their appreciation for nature. By installing playgrounds in nature-affluent areas, they will benefit from fresh air provided by surrounding foliage as well as enjoy themselves and blow off pent up energy like only children can.
Children are always learning even if they don’t realize it. By providing a platform for them to enjoy themselves and increase their knowledge at the same time, they will grow up with a greater understanding about the world around them. By getting out in the fresh air, they improve their physical and mental health as well as learning a responsibility that we all have towards the environment. Their early development is crucial, so giving them the opportunity to grow into responsible, healthy people is made easier through encouraging them to embrace nature and all its wonders.