Narrator (Catherine Sewell, play specialist): Playing outside is fantastic for your kids. It’s great for their sense of freedom. It’s great on a physical level and it’s also great on a creative and imaginative level because there are so many things that you can do outside.
A couple of ideas for when you’re playing outside. Balancing on low walls as you’re walking along the street. Jumping over the cracks in the sidewalk. Go to the playground equipment and practise climbing and swinging. You could be in your backyard making something out of petals and leaves, or create a little fairly garden. Chasing a ball, throwing balls back and forward, climbing trees, or even pretend play games, so, some bushes are fantastic to make into your house or your cubby house, and there can be a whole lot of character games that happen with that.
And making as well. So you can use rocks or stocks to build with. So there’s plenty of things to do outside for all age groups.
The toddler age group, they love sensory play. So getting them outside into the sandpit or digging in the dirt. Classic old mud pies. You get some old pots and pans that you’re not using anymore, and even making potions, adding some water and perhaps adding some ground-up flower petals or things like that. Potions are wonderful.
Even babies can be outside. So something that’s really nice for babies is just to bring a mat out and simply to let them lie under a tree, and the tree acts as a natural mobile So they’ll see the leaves moving in the wind and you’ll find that they’re quite fascinated by that movement and how the colours and the lights flutter in and out.
The important thing to remember is that anything you can play inside, you can play outside too. If you like reading books, if you like drawing, you can draw outside. If you like playing with your teddy bears, you can take your teddy bears outside.
The natural environment actually has a really calming effect on children. So it’s active and it’s stimulating but it also has this lovely effect of being quite a calm place.
The great thing about outside is that often there is a bit more freedom, So it’s OK to be a bit messier outside. It’s OK to be a bit noisier outside. Sometimes there’s less restrictions on the play once you take it outside, which is always great.