Disclosure: guest post in collaboration with Pentagon Play
Self-confidence in childhood continues throughout adulthood. A confident child trusts in their own abilities and perceives themselves as capable, often stepping out of their comfort zones to confront new challenges.
Grown-ups play a vital role in encouraging children by instilling a “go-getter” attitude.
Fortunately, outdoor play offers heaps of opportunities for kids to practise and master numerous skills.
As adults we can guide and encourage children by reinforcing good behaviour and inspire them to continue to tackle new tasks. This endorses self-belief by helping children to realise their own potential to improve, to hold themselves in high regard, to expect more and deliver their best.
Here are three great confidence-boosting reasons to encourage children to play outdoors.
1. Outdoor Play Builds Self-Esteem and Raises Self-Worth
Research suggests that physical activities is integral to reinforcing self-worth. The sense of accomplishment that a child gets from moving further up a climbing frame or partaking in a trim trail circuit delivers great pleasure.
The more children play, the better the understanding of what they are capable of and an acceptance of who they are, and what they can achieve.
This in turn, makes them more likely to engage in further challenging play the next time. It also provides a valuable life lesson to children that nothing amazing can be achieved without practise and commitment and to never give up!
2. Outdoor Play Promotes a Better Body Image
While body image worries are generally linked with teenagers, research demonstrates that concerns over body image and how others might see them begins in childhood. These worries frequently continue into adulthood.
Early intervention is therefore key to help build resilience. Outdoor play helps to establish a connection with their bodies and the outdoors and is therefore an effective mode of helping children to build a better body image.
Studies demonstrate that outdoor play and being physically active results in more imaginative and creative thinking, an increase in risk-taking, better emotional self-regulation and a boost in happiness and self-assurance.
3. Outdoor Play Improves Mental Health
Outdoor play boosts the levels of vitamin d which is responsible for the release of ‘feel good hormone’; serotonin, helping kids to feel more contented and happier.
Research demonstrates that children need healthy levels of serotonin for their mental health and development. When playing outdoors, kids are more attentive in class, ultimately performing better in school.
Outdoor play also promotes creative thinking, which distracts them from troubling thoughts and promotes a feeling of positivity. It helps children to focus on what they can do, instead of what they can’t. In play children learn to express and control their emotions (Power, 2000).
Outdoor play is arguably the best way to equip a child for adulthood, to take on new tasks with confidence and prepare themselves for future success. When playing, children complete activities out of pleasure, which in turn promotes self-esteem and interest. It offers the opportunity to practise and perfect each challenge with self-assurance.
Kay Hamid is a mother of two and an Educational Copywriter for Pentagon Play who design and install outdoor learning environments for schools and nurseries.