Playful parenting Space for play Why playing outdoors is important Many of us remember how much we enjoyed playing outdoors when we were children. But today people seem to worry about their children being outside, and there seem to be fewer chances for children to play outside, too. Playing outside is definitely as important today as it ever was. It gives children space to run, climb, roll, jump, hide, and use up energy It means children can play with natural things like water, sand, mud, grass, bark and twigs. It’s fun for children to discover the natural world, for example seeing which creatures come out in different weather. It helps children learn about the seasons and our wide range of weather by experiencing what they are like. It helps children learn about looking after themselves – for example, being aware of how slippery ice can be, and of the need to drink water and wear a hat when it’s sunny. It helps develop children’s senses – sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. It’s less stressful and annoying for adults if children are noisy outdoors, rather than indoors. It gives children the chance to see what it’s like to change their environment – digging, making large dens, making mud pies or castles. Every child benefits from the opportunity to play, and weather and cost don’t need to get in the way. Healthy children who are suitably dressed don’t need to let a bit of Welsh rain stop them playing outdoors. You don’t have to spend money on expensive activities, or travel miles to take your child to a particular playground. It is just as valuable to give them low-cost or free opportunities to play in your community. The most important thing is that you make play a part of your child’s daily routine.