How often does your child play outdoors? Do they go out even when it's raining? Do you believe that there's no bad weather, only bad clothing?
I once worked at a famous 'open air' nursery, where the children were free to come and go as they pleased, inside and out, in all weathers. Teachers were obliged to offer the same quality of experiences in the garden as they did in the building. We didn't just open the doors mid-morning to let the children run off a little steam. Play was meaningful and interesting. Unfortunately, this kind of semi-structured play is difficult to replicate at home. It takes time and planning.
But there is another kind. The out-in-nature, free-exploring, no-plan, let's-see-what-happens kind. Whether you have a garden, have to rely on the local park or even make a trip to the woods, nothing can beat this type of play. Outside, you see a different side to your child: more creative, braver, more focused and inquisitive.
And the benefits last long after you have returned home. Everyone is calmer, and happily tired.
Next time you're all cooped up in the house, behaviour worsening with each passing minute, dig out those puddle suits and go outside.
You won't regret it.
Here's the rest of the series:
Encourage open-ended play for creativity and focus
Understanding schema play in toddlers
Independent play and why it matters
Insider Guide: Small World Play and Language
Tell Almost Any Story with Just a Handful of Figures
A simple guide to choosing the right toy