5 Benefits of Outdoor Play for Children

There are so many ways that today’s children are different from other generations. Their ability to use technology for learning practices and entertainment leads them to have a library of information available at their fingertips. But information is only one part of learning and educational activities. There are so many other aspects of outdoor learning that benefit children’s development and abilities as they spend time outdoors. 

Simple activities can improve your child’s health, environmental awareness, and curiosity, whether it’s a walk to a neighborhood park, a hike in the woods, or an outdoor summer camp!

farm camp summer outdoors nature


Here are five (of many) ways playing outside helps children:

1. Sunshine

Just like plants, humans need sun exposure to grow! By getting sunshine on our skin, our bodies can make vitamin D, a vitamin with a crucial role in many body processes, from bone development to immune system function. Sun exposure also plays an essential role in mood regulation, and even sleep! Our bodies work best when they get some sunshine every day. Sunshine exposure is also an excellent opportunity for children to learn how to protect themselves from harmful UV rays and learn to pay attention to their body’s signs for good protection, hydration, and rest. 


2. Movement

Getting outside to play is one way to encourage exercise and movement in new, fun ways. By encouraging children to spend time outdoors — especially in a place as wonderful as a farm — you encourage active play, muscle building, and trust-building! By exploring the natural world, children gain confidence and learn to challenge and trust their growing bodies.


3. Nature Connections

Connecting with the natural world is a beautiful way to get understand the role we play in our environment and get children excited about the natural world. Through hands-on, supportive environmental education, children can learn new information about what an important role all creatures big and small play in a healthy ecosystem and help them feel empowered to become future stewards and advocates for the earth.   


4. Taking risks & Problem Solving

Children need to take some risks. As parents and caregivers, wanting them to stay safe can sometimes cause anxiety. But if we keep them in bubbles and never let them take any risks, they won’t know what they can and can’t do. By climbing, running, jumping, and getting safe risk-taking and decision-making opportunities, they prepare themselves to better face life’s challenges and develop the confidence they need for future decision-making. 


5. Socialization

Learning how to work together is a process that takes practice. Considering the past couple of years of isolation, learning how to make friends, share, and cooperate can take some time and practice. Allowing children to socialize in less-structured environments helps them build teamwork skills and set boundaries, both for themselves and others.  


Although there are so many different benefits to spending time outdoors, allowing children to experience real-life problems in a safe environment empowers them to take actions toward their own health, their environment’s future, and their connections with one another.


Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center’s one-acre Kids’ Farm and one-of-a-kind Living Playground are built, planted, and maintained with kids in mind. Our educators create unique curriculums and learning experiences that allow children to explore, learn, and enjoy the outdoors while having a fantastic time!

We offer different programs for a wide variety of ages, such as Summer CampsFamily Farm Adventures, and year-round family-friendly events.

Are you ready to experience the great outdoors?