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Parenting Matters Spring 17 HIGH RES

The Importance of Outdoor Play For Under 1’s Think back to your childhood, what are your favourite memories? Are they outside? During their first few years children are trying to make sense of everything that is happening and going on in their environment and in the big world that they have just been introduced to. One way that they do this is by soaking up everything, every sound, every noise and everything that they experience. By being outside this heightens the experiences and extends what they are gaining from their surroundings. It is important to make sure that there are a variety of different experiences for children to have access to and be involved in when they are outside. It is important to make sure that there are options for them on different levels, and that they are getting the opportunity to be able to explore all areas of the outdoor classroom. Activities on different levels allow children to develop their physical and gross motor skills by pulling themselves up and being encouraged to move around independently to explore their surroundings. Being in the outdoors classroom helps children to interact with older or younger children from the other rooms that they might not see on a regular basis. This helps with their social development by having regular social interaction with the other children and adults within their settings. As important as it is to allow babies and toddlers to explore the outdoor classroom independently and to have the freedom of their surroundings, adult interaction plays a key part to help them make the most out of what they experience. Through regular communication babies pick up the key words that are being spoken and they store them for when they start communicating. They are learning the new words that you are saying and they then start to make connections between the words and the objects around them. What can you do to help your baby explore their outdoors environment? Provide a blanket for babies to lay on and encourage them to feel the grass, mud and what is on the ground around them. Point out the movements of the different objects in their environment. Watch their eyes light up as a bird lands on the ground and then flies off again! As they begin moving and walking around, let them explore freely, encourage them to be able to walk through the muddy puddles and walk through the grass. Give access to walking aids and different objects that they can pull themselves up on to see their environment at a different level.


Parenting Matters Spring 17 HIGH RES
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