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The Benefits of Outdoor Play – Outdoor Classroom Day

Posted on 5 November 2020

There are many benefits of play! As the world celebrates Outdoor Classroom Day, we explain what these benefits are and why we love play outdoors!

Play for Healthy Development

Play allows children to use their creativity and imagination while developing their physical, cognitive, and emotional strength and play in the early years of life has a profound and long-lasting impact on a child’s health, well-being, and long-term development. Studies have shown that early play experiences improve a child’s physical growth, their capacity for learning, chances of finishing school, future employability, and even personal income (Playground Ideas, 2015). Play Scotland say “Play is essential to healthy development from birth to adulthood, contributing to the capacity for learning, resilience and the development of physical, cognitive, social and emotional skills.” At Play Action International, part of our play programmes include play kits which are typically used in ECDs (Early Childhood Development Centres), and can be used in outdoor settings to help with connecting caregivers and children through play at this critical time during a child’s early development.

Play supports Learning

Play is a hugely effective and sustainable tool for learning. It can help children make sense of the world, help them to problem solve, explore, invent, create and discover. We know that play can improve a child’s IQ and this, combined with helping them to develop other skills can support their development. Outdoor play opportunities can provide a safe and exciting place to help facilitate play and learning. Since 2009, Play Action international has built over 370 playgrounds which help support teaching capacity, providing a stimulating environment for learning outside of the classroom.

Play for Recovery

Play has the power to help trauma affected children. It provides children with opportunities to process anger, relieve stress, relax, bond with others, express themselves, overcome challenges and model positive behaviours. Combine this with opportunities to play outdoors in a safe space, children can tap into the natural state of play, and activate hormones associated with well-being such as endorphins and dopamine. Play can therefore provide therapeutic opportunities, helping them process feelings like anger, relieve stress, relax, bond with others, express themselves, increase their loss of control, overcome challenges and model positive behaviours. The Outdoor Classroom Day Movement says, “Play matters more than it ever did. Coronavirus has changed everything, including our children’s normal routines and access to their usual play environments.” They have lots of resources to help children and adults celebrate Outdoor Play Day whether you’re at home or at school, visit their website to find out more.

How will you celebrate outdoor play? Get in touch with us, we would love to know what you’re up-to to make outdoor play part of your day! Email: