Kids need to be active. Playing outside is the best way for them to develop muscles and large motor skills like balance. There are additional health benefits like increased cardiovascular fitness and lung capacity. Without access to the outside, most kids find some creative way to burn energy, whether it’s bouncing on the bed, somersaults on the sofa, or literally climbing the walls. Most parents prefer to have their kids spend some time out of the house.
The outside world offers endless possibilities from climbing trees to kicking rocks. Parents can encourage outdoor play by providing kids with the right toys. A large variety of outdoor play toys are available from brands like Toobeez, Step2 and Little Tikes. Little Tikes offers a wide range of products designed to cover a wide range of activities, including gross motor play, pretend play, and social play. Kids love to swing, climb, and slide. There are castles and houses, sand tables, and picnic tables. Other outdoor toys include balls, mats, and kites.
Apart from promoting healthy physical activity, outdoor toys have educational benefits as well:
1. Babies and young children explore the world through their senses. Cognitive growth occurs as they see, smell, hear, and touch objects. Feeling the breeze, rain, and sun is a direct learning experience, just like crunching autumn leaves and smelling blossoms. Natural curiosity leads children to become budding scientists. Rain dripping on a slide, pouring sand in a sand box, and crawling through a tunnel are all learning experiences. Kids discover gravity, motion, water properties, volume, numeracy, and much more. These early experiences give children an innate understanding of some principles later introduced in math and science.
2. Developing physical skills requires practice and freedom of movement. As these skills improve, a child builds a sense of self and increased confidence. Trying new things and healthy self-esteem follow along. Little Tikes climbers combine different challenges from sliding to climbing. Swinging back and forth leads to knowing how to “pump the swing” and use feet to stop or start. Repetitively sliding allows kids to learn how to control their speed and balance. Climbing builds muscle strength and balance. Balls develop hand-eye (or hand-foot) coordination. Other outdoor toys support further motor skills.
3. Free time outside allows kids to create their own games. A little imagination turns outdoor toys into space rockets or fortresses, while balls easily become a complicated sports challenge. Add in a few props or a timer to further the possibilities.
4. Playing in a group involves many different skill sets. Communicating with other kids requires an expanded vocabulary, listening, clear speech, as well as sharing and taking turns. These social skills are associated with improved academic outcomes once children reach school age.
5. Some outdoor toys can be built differently each time. Like other construction toys, items like Little Tikes Waffle Blocks and Toobeez encourage an understanding of spatial relations, architectural principles, balance, and much more. Taking construction toys outside allows children to make larger structures and expands the creative possibilities. Even knocking down large construction projects shows kids some basic engineering concepts.