Xlent participants engage in a lot of nature and outdoor play as a part of their regular day options program. Here are some of the reasons why we love getting out amongst nature – enjoying the many social, emotional, physical and mental and environmental benefits to spending time in the great outdoors.
Outdoor play involves the whole body – balance, coordination, gross and fine motor skills, flexibility and strength.
Natural materials are open-ended and easily adapted. Nature is full of endless possibilities, so it encourages people to think more creatively and develop problem-solving skills.
Outdoor play is vast and ever-evolving. When engaging in nature play, participants can make their own choices and choose their own adventures, which helps build confidence and independence.
Nature play provides opportunities for participants to challenge themselves and assess risks, encouraging independence and building self-confidence.
Leave No Trace
When participants spend time in nature, they learn that our planet is a beautiful place that needs their care. They are encouraged to be kind to bugs, plants, trees and critters, and to leave no trace of garbage or waste behind.
There is an element of risk and unpredictability in nature play. This can teach participants to not shy away from obstacles. By climbing a tree or hiking to a summit, they can discover the satisfaction earned through patience and effort.
Participants exposed to the outdoors have the opportunity to climb, run, jump, and more. Experiencing failure and success in this relatively safe environment helps develop physical skills and boundaries.
Nature offers a healthy balance of sensory stimulation. Spending time in nature supports sensory development and can help to minimise anxiety due to over-stimulation or sensory processing disorders.
Different aspects of our personalities emerge when we engage in nature play. Outdoor play can encourage sharing, turn-taking and communication skills, as well as promoting new friendships.
South Australians are reaping the rewards of major investments in nature play spaces and adventure playgrounds, bringing back opportunities for risky, imaginative, and fulfilling play for all ages and abilities. Visit NaturePlaySA to find a nature play space near you.