How outdoor play improves children’s mental and physical wellbeing

children outdoors

Play and wellbeing are closely linked in the development of children. Mental and physical wellbeing are developed and maintained through play and fun! Therefore, the team at Playsmart are championing playgrounds as places that improve children’s mental and physical wellbeing. 

How is Screentime Impacting Children’s Wellbeing?

Playing outside, in a park, garden or playground has been shown to increase the health and wellbeing of children. This is because outdoor play encourages life-long skills of productivity, creativity and forming relationships. Especially in this technological day and age, children from young ages are spending most their free time indoors on electronic devices, be that a mobile, iPad, television, computer or games console. The increase in children’s screen time coupled with pressures of school and home, calls for encouraging outdoor play.

When in a liberating outdoor environment, there is a notable change in children’s behaviours. Playing outdoors in school breaks, lunches and free time, also on the weekends in parks; creates a place of freedom and a form of escapism. When playing in communal places, children learn essential social skills, like making friends and sharing toys/equipment with peers.

Children playing outdoors “extends their personal horizons through greater appreciation and understanding of the world and its peoples around them”.

The English Outdoor Council

Health Benefits of Outdoor Play

In terms of health, children’s mental health and physical growth is a key factor in encouraging outdoor play. therefore, we encourage children to get fresh air and vitamin D from the sun. This is because it promotes the release of serotonin to balance children’s moods and boosts happiness. Playing outside and being active helps develop children’s bones, strengthens joints and muscles, and works the cardiovascular system. Additionally, it helps to develop motor skills like hand-eye coordination.

The positive physical effects of outdoor play are endless. This is especially important with child obesity on the rise. Playgrounds must consider outdoor play and wellbeing or health impacts it can have.

child in play area

Play and Wellbeing: The Ultimate Pairing

Outdoor play in the school curriculum, lessons, and free time can help children to release energy and learn in a different environment. When playing outside on the daily mile tracks or children’s play area, students take ownership of their own learning and get to experiment with their style and approach to learning.

Giving students the freedom to take responsibility for their learning and make decisions on their preferred learning environment generates interpersonal skills. Imagination and intellect are linked to the amount of time spent outdoors. This is because, activity like playing, exercise, and learning outside nurture children’s sense of self and increases their confidence.

Experience outdoors “has the potential to confer a multitude of benefits on young people’s physical development, emotional and mental health and well-being and societal development. Mental health and wellbeing benefits from play in natural settings appear to be long-term, realised in the form of emotional stability in young adulthood.”

The OPENspace Research centre

Playsmart has over twenty years of experience within the playground safety surfacing industry. Therefore, our team provides safe, high-quality playground surface manufacture and installation. Our goal is to exceed children’s mental and physical needs with our products.


Research Sources

2 thoughts on “How outdoor play improves children’s mental and physical wellbeing

  1. That was a fascinating post! Children benefit from playing at playgrounds in a variety of ways. It not only improves their physical health but also enhances their mental fitness and social abilities. Children who play in their natural environment experience less tension and anxiety, allowing them to be more playful and completely enjoy their time. It also aids children in making sense of challenging concepts.

  2. Excellent article! Children require physical activity all through the day, and encouraging outside play allows them to get some fresh air and learn more about their surroundings. Practical learning in the natural environment, I believe, helps young children enhance their self-esteem and physical and mental health.

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