10 Amazing Benefits of Outdoor Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers

It is natural for kids to love to run, jump, skip and climb outdoors. 

Outdoor play is beneficial for children beyond the physical advantages. Researchers have found that children who spend time outdoors tend to be more cooperative and socially expressive.

Outdoor experiences provide opportunities for young children to explore, discover and appreciate the natural world. Aside from keeping them active, being outdoors allows them to strengthen their fine and gross motor movement skills like agility, balance and coordination, hone their stamina, and test physical limits. Not only does it boost their immunity levels, but it also boosts their confidence and self-esteem at the same time.

outdoor play benefits

Many preschools and playgroups in Singapore incorporate various outdoor play and learning as part of the daily curriculum for young children. 

For example, in line with the Nurturing Early Learners (NEL) Framework by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), Little Footprints Preschool included a Fun Fitness programme for their students from playgroup to kindergarten 2. The programme helps your child hone gross motor and perceptual skills such as locomotor, stability, and object control. 

Benefits of Outdoor Play for Young Children During the Early Years 

Early childhood experts advocate outdoor play for young children as it reaps many benefits during their early years’ development. 

Among the many benefits include: 

1. Reduction in the risk of myopia, or near-sightedness 

Scores of studies show links between outdoor time and the development of myopia. Kids who spend more time outside are less likely to become near-sighted (Goldschmidt and Jacobsen 2014, Rose et al 2016).

2. Exposure to Sufficient Sunlight is Good for their bodies and brains 

Exposure to sunlight helps ensure that kids get enough vitamin D that encourages bone growth, muscle function. Bright light helps kids concentrate and may enhance the formation of synapses in the brain.

3. Outdoor Play Allows the Development of Athletic Abilities & Mental Prowess 

While there is no guarantee that your kids will become athletes, kids who play outdoors tend to develop better athletic abilities and better mental performance. 

outdoor play benefits

Some of our Little Footprints Preschool centres come with an outdoor play area with facilities such as a bicycle track, playground, water play and swimming pool. 

4. Nature Lowers the Risk of Behavioural Problems 

In a recent study of preschoolers, researchers found that nature-connected kids were better-behaved. They were less likely to suffer from emotional difficulties, and more likely to show kindness toward others (Sobko et al 2018). 

Nurture your child’s interest in the natural world by teaching about local wildlife and enlisting them to help preserve wildlife habitats. 

5. Reprieve from Devices 

Engaging kids in outdoor time is a good diversion away from addictive devices such as TV, smartphone or video games. It reduces the risk of myopia and encourages kids to be more active by playing outdoors.

outdoor play benefits

To encourage our young ones to spend more time outdoors, a herb garden is available at some Little Footprints Preschool centres. The success of the garden is a collective effort among the children and teachers who take care of the plants and vegetables while learning about them.

6. Sleep Better, Uplift Moods and Reduce Stress

Unstructured physical activity during the day also helps your children sleep better at night. It can increase concentration and improve mood the next day. 

7. Opportunities for Social Interaction

Outdoor play helps children learn the art of solving problems while building relationships within their peer group and developing healthy ways of forming friendships. 

In addition, it allows them to gain respect for nature by using their imaginations to entertain each other.  

8. Improve Sensory Skills

Outdoor play provides young children with opportunities for hands-on learning about physical forces and concepts. It supports kids to facilitate exploration, risk-taking, fine and gross motor skills and boosts their self-confidence and social skills.

outdoor play benefits

9. Encourage Risk-Taking

When children are given opportunities to climb and leap, and take chances, they master these challenges and overcome their fears. Some researchers think these experiences could function as a kind of anti-phobia behavioural therapy. 

10. Nurture an Active, Healthy Lifestyle 

Outdoor play is an excellent first step to motivating kids to exercise and nurture healthy, lifelong habits.

Book a tour with Us! 

Come visit us at your preferred Little Footprints Preschool centre to find out more about our learning approaches.

little footprints preschool

Schedule a visit to our centres and let us be a part of your child’s early childhood education journey.


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