There’s no doubt that play is important for the healthy development of your child. Through play, children improve their motor skills, their ability to think critically, share and make friends. There are so many benefits to playing! However, there’s still one question that remains – what’s better for your child, indoor or outdoor play?
Even without the recent pandemic and the new quarantine rules that we all follow, indoor play has skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years. Children engage with top-of-the-range games consoles, computers, and portable iPads. The development of streaming services, filled with the latest on-demand kid’s television, also serves to keep children indoors.
As many will comment, things were quite different no more than ten or twenty years ago. We often recall riding around on our bikes or going on walks through nearby parks. Nevertheless, the benefits of indoor versus outdoor play aren’t always black-and-white.
It’s true that children who spend more time outside as opposed to indoors can experience faster brain development in youth, with the rapid development of advanced motor skills such as balance and agility. Children who play outdoors frequently challenge and develop their physical endurance, strengthening their muscles.
Taking your child on an adventure in the great outdoors can help them concentrate in school, and socialise better with their peers! Teachers even suggest outdoor play is critical for the development of your child, allowing your child the skills and tenacity to reach their full potential.
But, this doesn’t mean that indoor play is completely redundant. In fact, indoor play is just as important as outdoor.
Just because your child might be using a console, doesn’t mean they aren’t exercising or experiencing the world. New consoles like the Wii Sports allow our children to move around, exercise and express themselves – all from the comfort and safety of home.
Although consoles shouldn’t be your primary form of indoor play – children should be able to use their imagination and creativity to direct their own playtime – there are other ways to make indoor play just as exciting and encouraging as outdoor play.
Try artistic activities such as painting or play dough; children can learn how to make their own decorations and toys, stimulating their cognitive development and their fine motor skills. Introducing new textures, colours, and materials inside gives your child a greater understanding of the world outside. Hand-eye coordination becomes greatly improved, and by navigating the obstacles of home, children accrue much improved spatial awareness.
So, to answer your question, there’s no better option between indoor and outdoor play. Both are essential to the health, wellbeing, and happiness of your little ones. We’d advise a careful balance of both: allow your child the freedom to explore their environment in every safe and creative way they can!
There are toys that can bring the best of both worlds together, able to be used inside or out. Take kid’s electric cars for example, manoeuvrable in the beautiful parks outside, or easily stored and enjoyed in the kids’ playroom.
Certainly, a child can easily use their imagination to fight monsters in the outdoors, but they can also direct their own play in the living room – using blocks, toys and paint.
The most important thing is that your child is playing and having fun! All the best learning and development occurs when a child is loved, entertained and content.