The wet weather gear has been dusted off and put to good use over the past week. In the ELC we value children having opportunities to explore the outdoor learning environment in all types of weather to support their growth and development.
We are advocates for nature play and the benefits of children engaging in this play. What are the benefits of children playing in the rain?
- Prevents the spread of illness by having exposure to fresh air.
- Gives opportunity to expand children’s authentic learning about seasonal changes and weather patterns.
- Allows them to experience changing weather and strengthens their immune systems.
- Being outside in or after rain, presents a whole variety of new challenges for children to overcome, both physically and cognitively, building problem solving, imagination and co-ordination as they navigate new ways to do things. Rocks become slippery, walking in muddy ground requires a greater level of muscle co-ordination, and trees branches, logs are more difficult to manipulate when wet.
(Nature Play SA, September 2016 pp. 15)
Myself and the staff have also observed the following benefits:
- Children developing their independence skills of putting on and taking off their wet weather clothing, changing socks and putting on shoes as well as being responsible in looking after their belongings.
- Children are developing their wellbeing by being able to make choices, accept challenges and take risks in their play.
- Children are developing dispositions for learning persistence, concentration, confidence and problem solving.
- Children are developing social skills as they support each other with getting changed in and out of their wet weather clothing. As well as turn-taking and sharing.
But possibly the greatest benefit about playing in the rain, is the expression on children’s faces. The joy and happiness that comes from jumping in a muddy puddle, feeling the rain splash on your face or creating a mud pie in the mud kitchen!