WHY OUTDOOR PLAY BOOSTS PRODUCTIVITY AND DEVELOPMENT (PART 2)
Part 1 – Please click here
Many athletes, for example, first discovered their love for a sport when they picked up a ball on the playground. Many of today’s leaders probably got their start in leadership while forming groups and interacting with peers on the playground. While children establish this stronger sense of self, they’re also learning how to be more self-confident in those abilities; this leads to stronger self-esteem and, in return, healthier mental health habits.
HOW OUTDOOR PLAY IMPROVES ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
The individual benefits of playgrounds at schools are clear, but did you know playgrounds also help a child’s productivity? Studies show that outdoor play can improve a student’s academic performance inside the classroom by promoting:
- HIGHER LEVELS OF FOCUS
Outdoor play promotes productivity in the classroom. According to one study, 95% of teachers surveyed agree that recess improves their students’ social interactions, and 78% indicated that their students are more focused and ready to learn when they return from their recess break. Every teacher surveyed agreed that recess is an essential part of a young student’s mental and physical development.
Think about the last time you concentrated on a particular task for a long time without pause; chances are, you felt overwhelmed, possibly even discouraged. Regular breaks are essential for absorbing and retaining information, and students who get to participate in recess often demonstrate higher levels of focus than those who don’t.
According to one study, children who played on playground equipment during recess showed a significant increase in both sustained attention and creativity in the class directly following their break, compared to other students who saw little to no change. In fact, this same study questions whether multiple breaks throughout the school day could lead to an even more increased focus in students.
This change in attention is likely due to the ability to physically move around while being exposed to plenty of sunlight and brain-boosting Vitamin D. Studies demonstrate that spending time outdoors leads to increased levels of happiness and concentration.
2. LESS STRESS
Another way outdoor play is helping productivity in students is by making stress more manageable. Today, students often feel an overwhelming amount of pressure in school, whether it’s from parents, teachers, coaches, or even pressure they place on themselves. This stress can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as cheating or refusal to participate in activities. It can also cause burnout and low academic performance.
Outdoor play is a regularly scheduled break in this stress that students look forward to. It gives children a chance to pause, think clearly, and focus on engaging with their peers and the world around them. Physical activity and exercise release endorphins and hormones that alleviate the adverse side effects of stress and promote healthy self-esteem.
- MORE LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
Outdoor play is an excellent opportunity for children to interact with nature. In a society where screen time is a growing concern, the time children are spending outdoors is less than it was years ago. Nature is full of valuable lessons, especially for young learners. Nature also stimulates a child’s senses, enriching their view of the world — they can hear the birds sing, smell the flowers bloom, and feel the wind blow. The more time a child spends playing outdoors, the more likely they are to grow into responsible and environmentally-conscious adults.
CONTACT MAX PLAY
A community playground is a natural place to come together. If your school, park, condo association, or community needs its own play space, contact Max Play to start designing your creative new playground today.