The development of children outdoors
Playing inside and outside requires different skills and offers other possibilities. Outdoor games stimulate certain development areas, which sometimes come less to development when playing inside.
Researchers on the quality of childcare find that babies do not spend enough time outside while being outdoors is also important for the development of babies.
The sensory development
The senses of babies, toddlers and children (human beings in general) are stimulated in a different way outside than inside. They see the leaves move on the trees, feel the wind brushing their faces, hear that the outside sound is different. All in all a different experience.
The cognitive development
Outside, children gain more knowledge about nature, it teaches children characteristics of different materials. For instance walking across tiles feels different than walking on the grass. In a playful way, children learn to measure and estimate, to think logically and to provide technical and spatial insight. Toddlers are besides all these things also very focused on cause and effect. Like, what will the ball do when I release it at the top of the hill? Or what happens when I pick up the insect and put it on my hand? They learn by their own curiosity and we give them their space to do that.
Outside, children have the opportunity to make full social contacts with children of other ages from other groups, but also with animals such as insects. Near MaiKids Hoofddorp there is a petting zoo that is regularly visited. The reason is that research has shown that children react very positively to animals. Particularly on children with ADHD or children with socially emotional problems, animals have a favorable influence.
Nature appeals to the expressive ability and invites the senses to open up to the maximum, it stimulates the creativity of children. A consequence of spending less time in nature is that the ability of the senses of the children decreases and with that the quality of their creative experiences.
Outside, the child learns to move more than inside because of the larger room for maneuver. It practices skills such as coordination, responsiveness, endurance and balancing. The child learns to know his physical limits and to orientate himself to space.
Music and dance are important forms of expression for children. They can enjoy themselves in it. The outdoor space is a beautiful ‘studio’ to experiment with all kinds of sounds and to dance to the music. Our pedagogical workers then like to put music on and dance with the children!
Communication and language
Communication is a very important means of contact with children which stimulate social competences in children. The pedagogical workers talk a lot with the children and a natural relationship of authority between the pedagogical employee and the group is important. We say what we do to offer emotional security, like with changing diapers or wiping their noses. The pedagogical workers also read to the children and do listening/hearing games.