Outdoor play and nature have a significant impact on the overall development and well being of children.
- Running, jumping, climbing and playing with natural materials, like sticks and rocks, help children develop their balance, coordination, strength, and agility.
- Being in nature provides children with experiences that expand their imaginations and understanding of the world around them.
- Through outdoor play, children learn to interact with others and develop social skills such as how to share and take turns. Studies show that being in nature can reduce anxiety and increase emotional well-being and self-esteem in children.
- Unstructured outdoor play and exploration gives children the freedom to use their imagination, create their own games, and explore the environment at their own pace.
There are several online resources available that can help you find creative ideas for outdoor activities and play.
Nature Canada is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Canada’s natural environment. They offer resources for families on the benefits of outdoor play and learning, such as the Naturehood program that encourages families to explore and connect with nature in their own communities.
Parks Canada offers a variety of online resources for families to learn about and explore national parks across Canada. They provide information on park programs and events, as well as games and activities for children.
Active for Life is a Canadian not-for-profit national initiative created to help parents give their children the right start in life through the development of physical literacy. This initiative offers a great selection of outdoor games and activities that teach fundamental movement skills. Check out their 15 Fun Old-Fashioned Activities for Kids, for great ideas, including short videos explaining the activities.
Outdoor Play Canada is a national organization that brings together advocates, practitioners, researchers and partner organizations to promote, protect, and preserve access to play in nature and the outdoors for all people living in Canada.