Outdoor Free Play & Games
Free outdoor play is regarded as the most important tool for brain development and for allowing the child to develop his/her imagination , social skills and physical abilities.
As compared to the last generation, today’s children tend to spend more time indoors be it with gadgets, television, online games / classes or playing with themselves. What could be the reason….???.It is because of fewer opportunities to play with building mates, no social circle,no play area or simply lack of interest by parents to step out in their busy schedule.
However according to the recent studies outdoor play is extremely crucial and the need of the hour. It’s like now or never especially with the younger children.
a. Children get confident:
Free play involves every part of a child’s being; mind, body, and soul. Through this play style, children are able to naturally explore their physicality as well as engage in independent learning. The result is a child who is building their confidence, self-efficacy, self-esteem all while having fun.
b. Reduces childhood stress and anxiety:
Over-protection from having ever been exposed to risk-taking activities can actually increase a child’s anxiety all the way into adulthood. Because free play inherently encourages a level of risk-taking with relatively low-stakes, it is the perfect opportunity for children to get these experiences under their belts.
c. Increases empathy:
Through imaginary play, children can put themselves in all sorts of situations, thus exploring new roles and the feelings that come with them. By engaging in free play with their friends, their cooperation, sharing, helping, and empathy skills will grow by the game.
d. Children recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations:
Children need to be able to identify a situation that is genuinely threatening, whether it is on the playground or in their future adult lives. Many experts believe that this ability starts young, and comes from the type of risk-taking and self-challenges that occur during free play.
Here are few suggestions which shall help you as a parent to get going :
a. Ensure that you arrange regular play dates with your friends
b. Join a ground activity like athletics, tennis or basketball
c. If your child is too young take him/ her to nearby parks , mountain trails, at least thrice a week
d. Limit screen time and give them extrinsic motivation for outdoor play
e. Mark areas in your building with hopscotch. Play simple games like four corners, Hide and seek , Jumping , Simon says
f. Give them a lot of exposure to outdoor activities, be rest assured they will definitely find one of them interesting
g. Expose them to skipping , skating , cycling which helps build stamina
h. Participate in kids marathon, happy streets or any upcoming activities by schools to motivate the child
“ Remember children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate “
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