Children learn through outdoor play and can increase social skills as a result. They discover news things, increase their knowledge of the world around them and discover nature – the warm sun, melting snow, how the leaves blow in the wind. In Scandinavian countries, there is a great focus on learning through outdoor play.
The Norwegian word “Friluftsliv” directly translates as “open air living” and is an important part of Norwegian culture. It means spending time outside and experiencing nature. Sweden also has vast outdoor green space compared to the UK and again there is much more focus on outdoor play in the early years. They are taken to the park regularly and on forest excursions and are stimulated in ways which cannot be measured academically.
There are immense benefits from learning outdoors and if they can learn to engage more with nature, the more they will learn about the world around them. Too many children have insufficient exercise, leading to obesity in adult life and other health complications, and negativity regarding health and safety have discouraged outdoor play.
We need to focus more on the health benefits of children’s outdoor play and stop worrying about the things that may never happen! The Scaninavians are known for their resilience outdoors and they cope well with the harsh Winter weather with the correct children’s outdoor clothing, enabling children to enjoy playing outdoors for longer periods of time. We need to take note if we want to encourage children’s outdoor play and good health.