The benefits of outdoor play

The benefits of outdoor play

It’s no secret that children love playing outdoors. Whether in the backyard, local playground, parkland or at the beach, we make many of our most treasured childhood memories in the great outdoors. But did you know that outdoor play also seriously benefits your child’s health and development? Here’s a look at seven areas where your little one can grow and thrive by getting outside.

1. Health and wellness

Walking, running, jumping and climbing outdoors are excellent for keeping your child physically fit and healthy. What’s more, fresh air, exposure to sunlight and being around nature also improve your child’s mood and reduce stress and anxiety. Regular outdoor play also gives your child that much-needed vitamin D hit from the sun, which is crucial for healthy bone development. Research shows that exposure to nature also reduces the risk of developing myopia (near-sightedness).

2. Immune function

Playing outside exposes your child to a wider range of bacteria, which strengthens their immune system. That’s why children who play outdoors are less likely to experience colds and other illnesses. Fresh air is particularly important if your child suffers from conditions such as asthma or allergies, as it helps the lungs function well. Outdoor play eases the symptoms of these conditions while making your child feel better overall.

3. Sleep hygiene

Exposure to daylight supports your little one’s good sleep by regulating the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. That’s because sunlight cues the brain to release wakefulness-promoting hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. Spending time in natural light also increases the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy. The stress-reducing benefits of nature also help children who have a hard time sleeping due to stress. Playing outside tires your child out, which is great, because a tired body is more likely to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep longer.

4. Improved focus

Giving your child the chance to run around and burn energy outside helps them when they need to sit still and concentrate on other learning tasks.

5. Cognitive development

Outdoor play develops your child’s problem-solving, fine motor and gross motor skills. Time in nature also encourages children to use their imagination and creativity as they discover the world around them. It’s also been linked to increased self-discipline. And, since children are constantly moving and exploring when they play outside, they’re getting a great workout for their growing brains.

6. Social skills

Playing outdoors with other children teaches your little one to share, take turns and cooperate. Social interaction and teamwork are important skills in all areas of life.

7. Fun!

Let’s not forget that outdoor play is plenty of fun! Your child can run, jump, climb and play games. They can also explore nature and discover exciting new things all around them.

As you can see, there are many benefits to outdoor play. So, the next time your little one begs to play outside, don’t hesitate!

Outdoor play at Learning Ladder

Your child will love spending time in our purpose-built outdoor learning spaces. These fun, safe, positive, creative and stimulating spaces meet the diverse educational needs of children from birth to six years. Where possible, your child can explore the outdoor playground throughout the day without restrictions. To learn more about our outdoor learning environments or educational programs, get in touch today.


16 Monahans Road Cranbourne, VIC 3977
03 5906 8700
1800 954 563


125 Watsonia Road
Watsonia, VIC 3087
03 9432 6565
1800 954 563

Wyndham Vale

(Now Open)
17-21 Cavalier Street, Wyndham Vale VIC 3024
03 9125 5260
1800 954 563


(Coming Soon)
26A Hayston Boulevard Epping Victoria 3076
1800 954 563

Narre Warren

(Opening Early 2025)
6-8 Meadow Walk Narre Warren, Victoria 3805
1800 954 563