5 Reasons Why Outdoor Play is Important for Toddlers
6 mins read

5 Reasons Why Outdoor Play is Important for Toddlers

If you’re here to know why outdoor play is important for toddlers and why you should allow your little ones to explore outdoors, you’re in the right place. 


Playing outside may be quite messy as they could play in the dirt sometimes, too. But there’s no denying that it also plays an important role in their learning and discovering new things.


Several studies show that outdoor play is important for toddlers in boosting their creativity, and social skills, and can also build a stronger immune system.


As a work-from-home mom, we spend most of our time indoors because of our work schedule. We have fun learning activities at home but I also want to support my child’s natural curiosity in the outdoor setting. Although we take him to indoor playgrounds, it’s still a different play experience and adventure when you let them explore outdoors.


It’s a good thing we are near Rainforest Park – a nature park with a playground here in Pasig.


The more he has outdoor play activities, the more he becomes active and curious. 

So in this blog, we’ll share the 5 reasons why outdoor play is important in nurturing child’s development.


Benefits of Outdoor Play in Early Years

why outdoor play is important for toddlers


1. Reduce Screen Time

Is your child a fan of Ms Rachel, too? How about Blippi? My son loves them so much and most of the plays he watches on TV are things he also loves to do outdoors. Outdoor play gives toddlers’ eyes a much-needed break from the screen. 


Less screen time means more active play. It can also promote better sleep routine.

It also allows them to have interactive and engaging activities as they explore countless things to discover outdoors.


When they’re outdoors, they are less likely to remember to watch on a phone or tablet because they have a lot of things they can do.


When we take our son to an outdoor playground, he goes on a slide nonstop, tries wall climbing, and runs around until he gets tired. 


He is so busy playing that he will never have time to remember to watch his favorite show. 

baby boy playing with sand


2. Improves social skills

Outdoor play is important to toddlers because it also helps them with social and cognitive development. Toddlers get a chance to meet with other kids. It promotes their ability to socialize, share, and learn to take turns. 


This also enhances their vocabulary, communication skills, and empathy which are essential in building relationships. 


Whenever my son is outdoors, that is also the only time he can interact with other kids in the same age group. 


And it makes me proud when I see him simply cheering up other kids and smiling at them as they take turns on the slide.

2 kids playing at the slide


3. Builds Confidence and Independence

One of the great benefits of playing outdoors for toddlers is that they become adventurous. Outdoor Play gives them new things to discover not just with the surroundings but also with themselves. 


It teaches them to trust themselves and be able to stand back on their feet when they stumble and fall. 


I vividly remember my son’s journey with slide – from me or his dad holding him and supporting sliding him down to now sliding on his own independently and having fun at that. 


That simple thing has a huge impact on how he perceive confidence and independence.


The confidence we see in his face when he successfully climbs the stairs and finally slides down brings us pride and joy.


4. Boost Creativity

Nature provides diverse stimuli—different things to see, sounds to hear, and even textures—that expand their imagination. 


Whether they pretend they’re flying like superheroes wearing a cape or pretend they’re being chased by dinosaurs, this inspires imaginative play. It enhances their creative thinking and their problem-solving skills.


My son’s favorite spot in the nature park that we often visit is the picnic area with pebbles around the artificial grass. 


He would pick up a few pebbles bring them on the grass surface and would ask me for help to make a circle or heart shape out of these stones. 


I was stunned by how his imagination can be so creative just with simple things he sees around. 


And they say boredom promotes creativity. So if they are outdoors and they ever run out of things to do just let them observe and you’ll be surprised with what wonderful creative minds they have.


5. Immerse in Nature

Nature has its natural way to heal and soothe us from any pain. This is not just for kids but also adults. 


Spending time with nature increases our ability to focus, be present, and in the moment. It helps us improve our attention span.


Think about it when you look up to watch the branches and leaves of the tree sway with the wind. I let my son do this when we go on a picnic. 


I make him look up at the trees and watch as they dance with the wind. Immersing toddlers in nature helps them appreciate it more. 


There is so much to explore in nature- from trees to plants and even animals. I let my son enjoy the beauty of this world.


How to Encourage Outdoor Play for Your Toddler

As much as we can, we schedule several days in a month where we go to a nature park or an outdoor area where he can freely run around, explore, and just have fun.


By incorporating outdoor play into our toddlers’ weekly or monthly routines, we also help them enhance their creativity, curiosity, and eagerness for adventure.


One way that works for us on how I encourage my son to go for an outdoor play is by telling him what he can possibly see on the place we will visit. 


We also set expectation on how long are we staying in that place so that he won’t throw tantrums when it’s time to go home.

I’d love to know how your experience is with your child playing outdoors. Feel free to leave a comment on this blog or connect with me on Instagram 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *