Outdoor experiences are so essential for young children the National Association for the Education of Young Children lists them in its guidelines for developmentally appropriate best practices in parenting.
Parents as Teachers research lists the following four domains of development that outdoor play supports with young children:
• Cognitive development – young children are learning about the world around them. Outdoor environments provide them abundant opportunities to notice sounds, colors, temperatures and other stimuli that help them build knowledge and understand scientific concepts.
• Language development – nature’s sounds and sensory stimulation young children receive such as touching leaves and hearing the sounds of birds chirping in the trees help them verbalize their experiences.
• Social development – when parents play outdoors with their young children at an early age, they introduce them to how friendships work. As your child ages, parents’ roles change. You will transition from playing with your child to creating play dates so your child has same-aged peer interactions. Play dates provide opportunities for your child to observe and mimic other children while they play side by…
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