Play: outdoors vs. indoors

R. Jeyatheerthan

Playing outside will encourage independence and build resilience in children. It will give them a sense of freedom. Spending time in nature is essential for cognitive development. Nature play stimulates creativity and problem solving skills at a young age. Children who play and spend time in nature have increased concentration and cognitive skills, including mitigation of ADHD/ADD symptoms.

When children play outside, they’re more active than when they play indoors, and are more likely to take part in play that strengthens their heart, lungs, and muscles. It improves their emotional health by reducing stress.Many kids are growing up in urban cities and aren’t moving enough out of their house. Playing outside is a very important way for kids to develop their mobility.

Talk to the children and tell them what it is like to get wet and/or dirty when playing outdoors. Organize outdoor play sessions for your students. Take them to nearby parks or lakes. Ask them to enjoy the natural environment and interact with it. They will love to be surrounded by nature rather than be indoors.

Allow your students to incorporate natural resources as play equipment instead of plastic toys. These can include tree stumps for jumping off, boulders to climb and sit on, logs to practice balancing or climbing, and plants, sand, gravel and wood for jumping over, walking through, and throwing. Nature encourages imaginative play and physical exploration. Nature play is often freely chosen, spontaneous, and unstructured.

Nature time can be extended to the home as well. Tell parents how they can plant a garden or flowers with their children. The next time they plan a holiday, ask them to include some outside time. Let children spend only a certain amount of time in front of screens. Instead ask them to go outside and play. Give them balls, sidewalk chalks, buckets, and let them get creative.

My hope is that our children live healthy lives and experience the joy of being physically active outdoors. Experiencing nature helps us live well and every bit of exposure helps. It’s time to bring the children outside the house.

The author is a computer teacher at SBOA Matric. and Hr. Sec. School, Coimbatore. He can be reached at

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