When I think back to my childhood… Some of my fondest memories are of outside spaces and activities. Memories such as climbing a favourite tree, making a secret hiding place, learning to skip together with friends using a long rope, practicing handstands, family picnics and playing tag. I remember learning the names of wild flowers, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, the wind in my hair, jumping in puddles and fishing for tadpoles. A child usually shares the values of the important adults in their lives. When we show an appreciation for the great outdoors, the children in our lives will follow our lead.
The outdoors is the best place for young children to practice and master emerging physical skills. It is in the outdoors that children can fully and freely experience gross motor skills like running, leaping, and jumping. It is also the most appropriate area for the practice of ball-handling skills, like throwing, catching, and kicking. Children can also perform skills such as riding a bike, climbing a ladder and lifting and carrying movable objects.
The outdoors has something more to offer than just physical benefits. Cognitive social and emotional development is impacted, too. Outside, young children are more likely to invent games. As they do, they are able to express themselves and learn about the world in their own way. They feel safe and in control, which promotes autonomy, decision-making, and organizational skills. Young children like to invent rules for games, promoting an understanding of why rules are necessary. They are learning through play!
We cannot underestimate the value of the aesthetic development promoted by being outside. Aesthetic awareness refers to a heightened sensitivity to the beauty around us. Because the natural world is filled with beautiful sights, sounds, and textures, it is the perfect resource for the development of aesthetics in young children.
Young children learn through their SENSES. Outside there are many different and wonderful things for them to SEE – animals, insects, green leafy plants, to HEAR – the wind, rain, a birds song, to SMELL – fragrant flowers, the sea air and even to TASTE – the salt on their lips as they play on the beach. Children who spend a lot of time acquiring their experiences through television and computers are using only two senses SIGHT and HEARING which can seriously affect their perceptual abilities.
Finally, what better place than the outdoors for children to be loud and messy and boisterous? Outside they can run and jump and shout, and expend some of the energy that is usually inappropriate indoors.
As we enjoy the beautiful winter in Dubai take the opportunity to experience the great outdoors with your children. At Ladybird, we enjoy listening to the children as they tell us about their afternoon and weekend experiences. It is the great outdoor activities and experiences they express with the most eagerness….. Playing in the park, running on the beach, a picnic, a camping trip or riding their bikes and scooters!
Enjoy the great outdoors and making memories!