The great outdoors has been crucial for a child's development since the first man walked the Earth. A developing nervous system requires the experiences of sensations that are only present outside in the natural world. The sensations of birds singing, fragrant and vibrant flowers, feeling the sun on their skin or the wind in their hair awakens their sensory awareness. Playing indoors is simply not the same as playing in the park or playground.
Many activities become more challenging outdoors. The varying terrain outside compared to a flat living room carpet requires increased motor planning. Throwing a ball in the garden becomes more dynamic because of he varying types of visual information being absorbed.
Eye sight is becoming more and more of an issue with children at present due to the amount of time being spent in front of a television or computer screen. Being outside is the greatest form of exercise for their eyes. The vestibular system controls the small muscles of the eyes to work together and co-ordinate the eyes to locate birds in the trees or airplanes in the sky. The vestibular system works alongside the musculoskeletal system allowing movement in their head and neck whilst maintaining balance.
Being outside will help a child develop many other skills required day to day such as language. So many children struggle with pragmatic language so it is important to provide activities that encourage expanded language. A common conversation starter amongst adults is to comment on the weather so teach children this while they're young and let them learn language skills in context.
Classroom skills are also developed through the great outdoors. Although children can understand words by reading or hearing them, experiences increase their understanding. Seeing a "colourful flower" is different to reading about one. The descriptive visual experience impacts on the child's memory which will have a greater impact on reading comprehension and writing.
So grab a pair of walking boots and head off into the woods to awaken your child's sensory awareness and develop their nervous system.