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The Great Outdoors: The Benefits of Nature on Child Development




We know, life is fast paced and as a parent juggling all the things, it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life. But amidst the chaos, there's a simple pleasure waiting to be rediscovered: the great outdoors. Whether it's a stroll through the park, a hike in the woods, or a day at the beach, spending time in nature offers countless benefits for both children and adults. We know this, but do we really know the importance of outdoor play when it comes to childhood development? Let’s look into it. 


What does playing in the outdoors really DO to promote a healthy, balanced, well rounded child? 


The Outdoors Unlocks Creativity and Imagination


One of the greatest gifts of outdoor play is the freedom it affords children to unleash their creativity and imagination. In the wide-open spaces of nature, there are no limits to what they can dream up. From building forts out of fallen branches to creating intricate sandcastles on the beach, the possibilities are endless. And with each new adventure, children develop important cognitive skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and spatial awareness.


Nature Promotes Physical Health and Well-being


In an age where screen time often takes precedence over outdoor play, it's more important than ever to encourage children to get outside and move their bodies. Whether they're running, jumping, climbing, or skipping, physical activity is essential for their overall health and well-being. And the great outdoors provides the perfect playground for them to stretch their legs, build strength, and develop coordination in connection with an organic setting.


Outdoor Play Fosters Connection and Bonding


But perhaps the most valuable aspect of outdoor play is the opportunity it provides for families to connect and bond. Whether you're exploring a new hiking trail together or simply picnicking in the park, spending time outdoors creates lasting memories and strengthens the bonds between parents and children. And with each shared adventure, children develop a deep appreciation for the natural world and a sense of stewardship for the environment.


Natures Provides Adventure and Discovery


From the smallest insect to the tallest tree, the great outdoors is full of wonders waiting to be discovered. And there's no better way for children to learn about the world around them than through hands-on exploration. Whether they're digging for worms in the garden, collecting rocks by the river, or watching birds at the feeder, outdoor play sparks their curiosity and encourages them to ask questions, seek answers, and embrace the wonders of the natural world.


Natural Landscapes Build Resilience and Independence


Finally, spending time outdoors helps children develop resilience and independence as they navigate new challenges and overcome obstacles. Whether it's climbing to the top of a hill or navigating a rocky trail, outdoor play teaches them to push past their comfort zones, take risks, and persevere in the face of adversity. And with each small victory, they gain confidence in their abilities and learn valuable life skills that will serve them well in the years to come. We really loved this article that talks about raising resilient children with nature and links to studies that validate nature’s role in this process.


Incorporating New Outdoor Elements at our Centre


Of course, having access to engaging outdoor spaces like playhouses, sandboxes, and grassy areas can enhance the outdoor experience for children, providing them with new opportunities for exploration and discovery. This is why we’ve recently added those spaces to our Stephenson Point location! We believe in staying up to date with the needs of developing children, and believe outdoor spaces are one of the best ways to meet the needs of the children in our care. 


As our world becomes more technologically engrained, it’s important for parents and caregivers to prioritize time spent outside, connecting with the children and the natural landscape. We live in an incredible part of the world, here in Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, with beaches, rivers, lakes, parks and mountains all within close proximity. 


If you’re a local parent gearing up to register your child in care before they are old enough to go to school, we want you to know, the outdoors is a huge priority to us, here at In Space! Read more here, about how to prepare your child for preschool, so that you can feel calm and prepared as you embark on the next stage of your journey.


Now, stop reading and head outside! You won’t regret it, and neither will your kiddos! 




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