These days, it’s harder than ever to get children outside. The existence of phones and devices give kids all the distractions they might ever need.
The increasing use of technology in our lives today means that many kids can spend seven hours or more in front of a computer or mobile device every single day. While you shouldn’t blame them for it, it’s important to recognise that outdoor play is crucial for their development.
Outdoor play is linked to loads of great developmental changes in children, such as their social skills and imagination. But getting them to put down the device and go outside is easier said than done. That’s where garden playhouses come in.
We won’t reveal all their secrets yet, but outdoor playhouses give kids all they need for well-rounded development.
If you want to find out more, then keep scrolling! You’ll explore our full explainer on child development, wooden playhouses, and even some tips to get them playing out of the house!
Benefits of Outdoor Play
For years now, scientists have been looking into the links between outdoor play and the development of the brain. All these years of studies and research have shown us one thing: that outdoor play is great for the development of the mind.
What’s better is that it benefits the brain in loads of different ways. Let’s run through some of the physical, social, and emotional benefits kids get from outdoor play:
- Improved motor skills. Kids who play outside will have better coordination, balance, and agility. This is because they’ll be moving their body in more ways, like running, jumping, and throwing. This exercise will train and improve their motor skills. Playing outside in this way will also give them greater muscle strength.
- Better overall health. Being outside and playing encourages cardiovascular exercise. This type of exercise is ideal for keeping the body in shape. This lowers the risk of obesity and reduces the risk of asthma and diabetes.
- Greater self-awareness. Being in different environments allows kids to explore the world from a different perspective. This encourages them to become more aware of their surroundings in the environment they’re in.
- Develop all five senses. Being outside, amongst different kinds of smells and feels and sounds, naturally develops their senses.
- Develop a sense of independence. When kids are outside by themselves, they can explore and take risks as well as push the boundaries of what they’re comfortable with. This gives them confidence in themselves and their decisions and cultures a sense of independence. Independence is crucial for developing emotional intelligence skills.
Just from these effects, it’s already clear how amazing outdoor play can be for a growing child. We’ve not even included how much it helps with social and language skills! But these aren’t even the highlights.
Studies show that a child who spends time outdoors amongst nature will have a greater appreciation for it. They will also be more likely to prioritise the environment and contribute to stopping climate change.
Let’s take a closer look at the one category we’ve missed out: the effect outdoor play has on a child’s intellectual and cognitive development. In particular, we’re going to be looking at how imaginative, or pretend, play helps the brain.
How imaginative play helps the brain
Playing outside gives the brain new things to process and encourages them to learn and understand the world around them. As a result, they will learn more, get better at learning, and even start to develop a desire for learning. This will help them greatly when they start formal education.
Imaginative and creative play is particularly important for the development of the brain. Creative play helps children’s brains to form creative problem-solving skills by allowing them to think through problems and situations outside their normal experience.
Alongside this, pretend-play with friends allows them to experience more complicated social interactions than they would usually see such as sharing, cooperating, and collaborating. They will practice these skills and learn healthy and productive ways to connect with friends and peers.
From playing in this way, children will be gaining skills that they will be able to carry with them throughout their entire lives.
This makes encouraging them to use their imagination super important. If you’re looking at a way to help your kids have that, then we have the solution: an outdoor playhouse.
Playhouses and the imagination
Making your child a place where they feel comfortable playing imaginative games is not usually easy.
They need a place where they can be themselves outside, a place away from the usual rules of the house. For those children who are a little shyer, it may need to be slightly tucked away. This place must also put them in the mood for play and inspire their imagination. Parents will also, naturally, want this place to be safe and secure.
Finding or making a place with all these features is not easy, especially if you don’t have a huge garden. But with a wooden playhouse, it doesn’t have to be a struggle.
A wooden playhouse is great for imaginative play because it provides everything that a child needs to play safely and let their imagination run wild. Let’s take a look at this in a bit more detail.
A place to be themselves
A children’s playhouse lets kids be themselves because, for them, it basically acts as their own little home. A private little spot, away from the house and the rules, that they can do whatever they want in. It especially benefits from being somewhere that is both inside and outside.
This privacy and freedom allow children to be totally at ease whenever they are in the playhouse. This means they can relax and really show off their individuality and personality.
For those kids who are a little shyer, having a private place can really help them feel more comfortable. It can also provide somewhere to go if they are feeling overwhelmed.
What’s better is that, as kids grow more comfortable in their playhouse, they’ll want to spend more and more time there. That’s more time when they are having fun, learning, and developing.
A place for the imagination
Where wood playhouses really shine is their ability to spark the imagination. Their simple designs let kids imagine themselves doing fun and creative activities in thousands of different places and situations. At any one time, the playhouse could be a creepy witches’ cottage, a rocket ship, a spy’s secret hideaway, or perhaps the kitchen of a busy bakery.
There are certain children’s playhouse features that can enhance imaginative fun, too. A towered playhouse, like the Lollipop Max Tower or the Gingerbread Junior Tower, provides a great stage for more imaginative possibilities.
The outside railing can help the playhouse become a pirate ship sailing through a storm, or a hideaway high up in the trees of a tropical jungle.
The same goes for the addition of a bunk bed, or the very popular slide – available with any tower playhouse at Garden Buildings Direct. These are yet more options that will bring endless hours and possibilities of fun and imagination.
If you need a place that inspires fun activities and nurtures the imagination for your children, look nowhere else but a wood playhouse.
A place that is safe
To top it all off, a children’s playhouse is a super safe play area for any child. We’ve ensured that all our playhouses are completely child and play safe to EN71 European safety standards. This includes a bunch of features that are designed to keep kids safe. These include:
- Safety gaps around doors to prevent trapped fingers.
- Safety rails on all raised verandas.
- SAN-glazed shatterproof plastic windows.
- Anti-slip ladders on tower playhouses.
These safety features, along with our stable design and quality materials, will make sure your child is safe – no matter when they’re playing or what they’re doing.
When helping your child’s development through imaginative play, a children’s playhouse gives you everything they need.
Encouraging Imaginative Play
Regardless of whether you have a children’s playhouse, or are thinking of getting one, there are a few things you can do to encourage your child to think and play imaginatively.
One great way to do this is through toys. While kids might have loads of themed toys, it actually helps to give them toys that provoke them to think imaginatively. Giving or leaving around an open-ended toy for your child to play with can massively help their desire to play and prompt their imagination in different ways, too.
For example, a stick is very flexible when it comes to playing. It could easily be a wand for spells, a sword for a Knight, or even a ladle or spoon for a chef. The important thing is that the child has used their imagination to come up with a play idea.
Other items that can help do this are things such as rocks, leaves, ribbons, or fabric bags. Clothes such as capes or different types of hats also achieve the same thing.
Wood playhouses aren’t the only way to get your kids thinking imaginatively, but they are an amazing way to help them do so.
A children’s playhouse provides a safe and secluded place where a child’s imagination can really take flight. As you now know, a healthy imagination and lots of outdoor play is great for a child’s development. It will give them skills and self-confidence they will take with them for the rest of their life.
If you want a playhouse to nurture your child’s imagination and development, check out these best playhouse ideas!