Playing Outdoors & Emotional Development

Playing outdoors teaches our children essential skills that we, as adults, use every day. It also helps establish a key development area – emotional development. Find out how in our latest play insight.

Playing outdoors helps children to develop, not only physically, but socially, emotionally, cognitively and imaginatively too. It develops essential life skills that enable children to understand and enjoy the world around them. The only way children learn these skills is through practical experience, because this is what helps the brain to develop.

Emotional development is particularly important. It enables children to understand how their actions affect others. How to deal with conflict, how to take turns, how to encourage peers and console unhappy friends. Being able to read other people’s emotions and understand your own makes it easier to form friendships and work with other people.

Playing outdoors in Schools

Schools are recognising the great outdoors as an essential part of a child’s development. With this in mind, many have invested in outdoor classrooms to enable more time to be spent in natural surroundings. Classroom learning will always be important academically, but there are essential skills that can only be established through practical experience. Playing outdoors is a fantastic way of generating these experiences. Also, there is a huge sense of freedom in outdoor play allowing children to have fun as they subconsciously develop.

Playing outdoors helps children to interact with others, letting each other take turns, communicating and cooperating. As well as this, children learn how to entertain themselves and play independently.

Linking Emotional Development & Playing Outdoors

Emotional development is the understanding of feelings in children and having the ability to recognise them in others. Being able to define how you are feeling and express it appropriately helps children to have greater control of their emotions later in life. Understanding how others feel and how to change the way you act towards them is an essential skill for all future relationships.

Taking turns and sharing with other children helps them to control their emotions and resolve problems in a kind way. Children who are not in control of their emotions tend to lash out either verbally or physically. Ultimately, the child who is unable to control their emotions will find it difficult to make and retain friends in the future.

Children who recognise what happiness and success feels like are more likely to set themselves challenges to feel the emotional reward. Those who recognise the feeling of sadness and failure are able to express themselves and look for ways to learn from their mistakes. Additionally, a child who knows how to find contentment will be able to cope better with adversity in everyday life.

People with high emotional IQs are just those who understand their own and others’ emotions well. They are able to change tack if a conversation is going off the rails, and are able to turn around a negative interaction into a positive one. Once children learn that screaming and stamping your feet doesn’t get them their own way, as a result they soon learn they can get further if they cooperate.

Provide the Right Environment for Emotional Development

At Playcubed, we have been creating outstanding play spaces for over 40 years. If you would like to find out more about outdoor play equipment contact us and we would be delighted to offer advice. Let’s get your school playing outdoors!