Some reports have shown that children and nursery staff who spend a lot of time outdoors get fewer infections. Children's balance and mobility develop better if they get to run around somewhere other than the flat surfaces inside the house – don't worry if they occasionally trip over stones and branches. That's all part of it. Just make sure you keep them away from steep slopes and large expanses of water.
Studies have shown that playing in nature promotes creativity and improves concentration. We know that being in nature reduces stress in adults, and we can assume that the same applies to young children, who are filled with so much energy.
There's also the fact that we all benefit from a bit of daylight, partly in order to form vitamin D in our skin.
So there are lots of good reasons to plan picnics, sledging or another cool activity in the fresh air!
More things to do out-of-doors
• Let your child help you in the garden or yard. They'll love picking flowers, collecting leaves or picking fruit. (Teach your child never to put anything in their mouth without showing you first!)
• They can use a little watering can to “feed” the flowers – or just slosh it onto the ground.
• Go outside and collect “treasures” from nature. Take a go-kart or doll's pram out with you to make it extra fun.
• Make mud pies in funny shapes. Or you could make an entire world out of sand for those little plastic toys!
• Feed stale bread to the birds or visit a duck pond.
• Get out a pedal car or another mobile toy, and off you go.
• If it's wet, put on your wellies and waterproofs and jump through the puddles.
• See if you can find any insects and look at what they're up to. “Look but don't touch” tends to be the best advice at this age. Teach your child to be careful with small animals – this creates respect for nature and for life.
• Take a ball along to a park and have fun with it.
Come out to play!
Noise and stimulation in the fresh air are often the best cure for naughtiness. But there are several good reasons to let your child play outdoors.