How your child benefits from playing outside at nursery

As lockdown is lifting, we’re all racing to get outdoors and enjoy trips to places like the park. At nursery, we know how vital outdoor play is to your child’s development because we see the benefits of it every day. 

Paula Wright is the nursery manager at Birstall Rainbow Nursery. She has spent her career in early years education and has been at Rainbow for over 25 years.

As lockdown is lifting, we’re all racing to get outdoors and enjoy trips to places like the park. Parents will be especially keen to get their children enjoying activities outside after months stuck inside during the winter lockdown.

But getting outdoors isn’t only important because of the change of scene after months indoors! At nursery, we know how vital outdoor play is to your child’s development because we see the benefits of it every day. 

Rainbow Nursery has Birstall’s best outdoor play area. Our secure outdoor play area is even larger than our indoor space, with countless opportunities to learn, play and grow whatever the weather. Here are six ways that your child benefits from playing outdoors at nursery:

1. It helps to develop your child's motor skills

To help develop their motor and physical skills, your child needs to be able to use their whole body. Younger children will benefit from the different environment as they crawl or begin walking outdoors. 

For older children, the outdoor play area gives them the space to do this as they run, jump, climb or ride bikes. We have different equipment to support this, such as the climbing frame, rope course and slide. However, the outdoor environment also gives them opportunities to develop their fine motor skills through activities with their hands – such as moving stones in our dumper truck area or collecting natural materials in our bug garden.

Learn more about Rainbow Nursery in Birstall

2. Your child will also develop their other skills

Outdoor play will also support other areas of your child’s development and our outdoor area has activities to support all seven areas of early years development. For example, children will develop their imagination and creativity as they make use of our mud-kitchen with their friends. Activities like counting leaves and natural materials will help them to develop their mathematics skills and their social skills will benefit from playing outdoors with their friends. 

Learn more about our ethos at Rainbow Nursery in Birstall

3. Some children prefer to learn outside

We know that some children prefer to learn outside, so at nursery we provide all children with the same opportunities to learn and develop their skills both inside and outside. For example, we have a dedicated reading area outside so that a child who prefers to learn outside can develop their literacy in the best place for them.

Research shows that very young children mainly learn through sensory and physical experiences, which support their brain development. Outdoor play helps to increase the range of these experiences throughout their day. 

Learn more about our outdoor play area

4. It can boost your child's confidence and independence

Outdoors, your child will benefit from activities to help boost their independence and confidence. For many children, this is the only opportunity they have to play safely while learning to assess risk – for example as they cross a balancing beam. Outdoors they will also develop the skills to manage new situations, giving them the confidence to try new things.

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5. Your child will benefit from unique experiences

Learning outdoors provides unique experiences that your child won’t get indoors. At its most basic, it will help them to learn about the weather, the changing seasons and the world around them as they experience the outdoor area at different times of the year.

However, we also provide outdoor activities to help them learn more about natural world. For example, your child will help to water and look after plants in our vegetable garden, learn about the different bugs that live in our bug hotel and collect natural materials in the garden that can be used to create artwork. These beneficial experiences are unique to play outdoors. 

Learn more about our pre-school room

6. Outdoor play helps your child to develop a healthy and active lifestyle

Playing outdoors at nursery age can help your child to develop healthy habits for life as they start to understand that being active helps to keep their body healthy.

At this age, we also know that physical activity outdoors helps your child to burn off energy and this can help them to sleep, eat and live more healthily. This is also true in younger children – research shows that babies sleep better at night if they have had fresh air and sunshine during the day. 

Learn more about our emphasis on nutrition

Rainbow Nursery in Birstall cares for children from 6 weeks old until school age. The longest running nursery in Birstall, we have been open for over 30 years. We are open all year around, Monday to Friday 8am-6pm.

Contact us today!

We'd love to chat and would be happy to answer any questions you might have. Give us a call today on 0116 267 1331 or email