At Foundations Preschool, we prioritize outside play year-round. Play, especially outdoor play, is critical to a preschooler’s development. As Albert Einstein said, “Play is the highest form of research!” The best part of learning through play, is that children don’t even know they are:
• Developing Cognitive skills – How does ice feel? How does this herb taste?
• Strengthening Physical Abilities-What happens if I pedal faster? Why do we slide down instead of up?
• Building New Vocabulary-What is this plant? What type of bird is that?
Practicing Social Skills-Who’s turn is it on the swing? How do I know if someone wants to play with me?
Outdoor play provides health benefits as well. Studies at Stanford University have found that even 5 minutes in nature can improve a child’s ability to self-regulate and pay attention. In 2014, a study at University of Colorado showed that children’s exposure to green outdoor spaces helped decrease their stress levels by offering an escape from life’s daily routine. Outdoor play enables children to ‘recharge their batteries’ by taking part in very different activities from the classroom experience.
Outdoor play allows children to be children! Some of our favorite childhood memories are outdoor activities. Using open space to fulfill basic childhood needs—jumping, running, climbing, swinging, racing, yelling, rolling, hiding,
and making a big mess—is what childhood is all about!
As winter is upon us here in Michigan, we are looking forward to snow balls and icicles. “Just remember that bad weather always looks worse through a window.” – Tom Lehrer