Outside Play and the Benefits to Children

by Linda Coors on November 29, 2011

Child Playing in TreesA study by BBC child psychologist Dr. Tessa Levingstone has found that the more time children spend playing outside away from TV and computers, the more they laugh. According to the study, children who played most, especially outside, laughed up to 20 times as much as the children who played less. They also found that children who are allowed to play and explore outside are likely to be more adventurous, self-motivated and better able to understand risk when they grow up. You can read the complete article here: BBC: Children Playing Outside Laugh More

After reading this article, I was reminded of a webinar we did back in September 2010 with Andy Blanchford and Richard Louv. Andy owns a landscape company, Blanchford Landscape Contractors in Bozeman, Montana, and his company partnered with a local school to create a natural playground. Some of the inspiration for the playground came from a book called Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, written by Richard Louv. It was great to have both of them on with Jim Paluch as host to discuss the importance of outdoor play to children, especially play in natural areas rather than playgrounds full of asphalt or structured games. Here are some of the points discussed in the webinar:

  • Getting outside with nature has been shown to help children with attention-deficit disorder.
  • Children in natural playgrounds or nature are far more creative than ones in a typical playground surrounded by metal equipment and asphalt.
  • Dealing with fears that keep parents from letting children outside because of fear of strangers or building tree houses because of fear of liability
  • How natural play supports the whole child

If you would like more information about Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, you can read about it here: Richard Louv’s website.

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