- Research has shown that playing outdoors has great benefits for adults and children alike.
- Some examples of outdoor play is Giant Jenga, Human Foosball, and simply water!
There are huge benefits to outdoor play for adults and children. Research shows that play has cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits. Moving play to the outdoors provides different stimuli and interactions with the environment that is hard to replicate indoors.There are also many benefits to the outdoors like soaking up vitamin D from the sun, building immunity from the dirt and grass, lowering obesity, improving mood, and learning the fundamentals of play. Click To Tweet
In our society, the decreased time for outdoor play is leading to more time indoors. Outdoor play is decreasing for many reasons which include parents’ work schedules, safety concerns, children/adults not sure what to do in those spaces, busy lifestyles that don’t always allow for a stop at outdoor spaces, bullies, bugs (hello tick and mosquito season), and fear of kids getting hurt. There are also many benefits to the outdoors like soaking up vitamin D from the sun, building immunity from the dirt and grass, lowering obesity, improving mood, and learning the fundamentals of play.
Big Fun in the Sun: Giant Jenga
Giant outdoor toys or structures provide a social aspect that adults and kids can both enjoy. As I watched my kids playing with a giant outdoor Jenga game, my older son saw it as a more structured game. My younger son saw them more as building material, using the pieces to set up and knock down with a few other children. We can see play through different lenses and still get enjoyment and benefit out of the experience.
You could use it as a review game for academics, matching letters with sounds, or a getting to know you game for the beginning of the year in a school environment.
Big Fun in the Sun: Human Foosball
What could seriously be more fun than a human foosball game? This one brought me deep Friends nostalgia. Joey and Chandler are great examples of adults who play. The human foosball game was set up with PVC pipe and wood and could be replicated at your school. Play human foosball in an open environment to work on problem-solving, teamwork, and cross-body movements.
This could be a great idea for a staff get-together before school starts. Check out this website for great setup options How to Play Human Foosball.[scroll down to keep reading]
Big Fun in the Sun: Water Play
Some of the best parenting advice I ever received was to try water. If you are having one of those days where nothing seems to be going right, try water! Water can be a source of enjoyment for everyone in the family. If you are feeling nervous about big bodies of water, keeping a water table in the backyard has so many possibilities for little ones and can even be cleaned out and brought to the basement for sensory play in the winter months.
Water can provide a sensory experience, improve gross motor skills, and release energy. This is why your kids are so hungry after swimming. Check out some of your local YMCA facilities as some of them will offer free swim lessons for the littles.
About BreAnn Fennell
Mrs. BreAnn Fennell is a first-grade and second-grade looping teacher in Ashland, Ohio. She has worked in both public and private settings and is passionate about providing exciting learning environments for students. Mrs. Fennell is a published author of children’s books including Play? Yay! and Choose Your Cheer. She is a mom to two energetic boys and a defender of play!