What Our Daycare Learned About Outdoor Play for Child Development 

Written by Marlene Alcon Kepka


| 3 MIN READ |



In today’s world of technology and screens, it’s easy for children to spend most of their time indoors. However, outdoor play is crucial for their physical, emotional, and cognitive development. At our Calgary daycare we make sure our children get at least 30 minutes of outdoor time. And if your daycare can’t do that then we use our gym and do “rainy day” activities. Like these.


In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of outdoor play and why it’s essential for children to spend time outside. After running a daycare for over 10 years in Calgary we know why its so important for children to get a balance of outdoor play and indoor activities. Learning at our daycare is great but we know children need time to have fun and explore.

Physical Benefits of Outdoor Play

The physical benefits of outdoor play are numerous. Children who spend time playing outside are more physically active, which can help them maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity. Outdoor play also helps children develop their gross motor skills, such as running, jumping, and climbing, which are essential for their overall physical development.

In addition to promoting physical activity, outdoor play can also help children get essential vitamins and minerals. Exposure to sunlight helps children produce vitamin D, which is crucial for bone development and a healthy immune system. Spending time outside can also expose children to different environments, which can help them develop stronger immune systems and fight off illnesses.

Emotional Benefits of Outdoor Play

Outdoor play can also have emotional benefits for children. Spending time in nature can help children reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It allows them to connect with their environment and can help them feel more relaxed and calm.

Playing outdoors can also help children develop their self-esteem and confidence. By exploring and taking risks in a safe environment, they can gain a sense of accomplishment and mastery. This can help them feel more confident and self-assured, which can translate to other areas of their lives.

Social Benefits of Outdoor Play

Playing outside can also help children develop their social skills. When they play with other children, they learn how to cooperate, negotiate, and communicate effectively. This can help them build strong friendships and develop positive social skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

In addition to playing with other children, outdoor play can also help children develop a sense of empathy and understanding for the environment and the world around them. It allows them to connect with nature and understand the importance of protecting it.


Cognitive Benefits of Outdoor Play

Outdoor play can also have cognitive benefits for children. It allows them to engage in hands-on, experiential learning, which can help them develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They can explore the natural world and learn about science, math, and other subjects in a fun and engaging way.

Playing outside can also help children develop their creativity and imagination. They can use their surroundings to create games, stories, and art, which can help them think outside the box and develop their unique creative skills.

Tips for Encouraging Outdoor Play

Now that we’ve explored the benefits of outdoor play, how can parents and caregivers encourage children to spend more time outside? Here are a few tips:

  1. Create a Safe Environment Make sure the outdoor environment is safe and child-friendly. Remove any potential hazards, such as sharp objects or toxic plants, and ensure the play area is well-maintained.
  2. Provide Adequate Supervision Supervise children during outdoor play, especially young children. Make sure they have access to necessary equipment and materials, such as sunscreen and water.
  3. Offer a Variety of Activities Provide a variety of outdoor activities, such as sports, games, and nature exploration. This can help keep children engaged and interested in spending time outside.
  4. Make it Fun Make outdoor play fun and engaging. Encourage children to use their imaginations and creativity to come up with games and activities.
  5. Set a Good Example Finally, set a good example by spending time outside with your children. This can help them see the value of outdoor play and encourage them to spend more time outside.

Outdoor play is essential for children’s physical, emotional, and cognitive. Being the best daycare in Calgary, humble brag over here. We strive to balance our children’s days. That means learning, fun, outdoor, indoor and all kinds of play. Making safety the number one thing we focus on.

Wether your child is at home or at our Calgary daycare you have to get these little tykes outside. It doesn’t take much. 30 minutes a day for some outdoor play is all you need. And knowing how positive outdoor play is on our daycare staff it will probably do you a world of good. Have fun outside!