There are many ways in which a child can learn. Learning when we were children was quite different to learning today. There are so many amazing ways children can learn now, from adventurous apps, guided YouTube videos, interactive courses and much more. 
 
The rise of technology makes learning constantly exciting and engaging. However, it is important to consider the potential downfalls which could occur, especially surrounding mental health, things such as increased anxiety, feelings of isolation, difficulties with social settings, short attention spans, and much more if a child’s screen consumption becomes too excessive. 
 
Here at Wellies, we put a lot of emphasis on outdoor play, we love to play outside. While on the surface, outdoor play is definitely fun - it can provide children with much more than just another way to entertain them. 
We believe that outdoor play is often overlooked and is increasingly essential for a child’s healthy development, here are just a few examples and benefits: 
 
Being fully in the present - mindfulness 
The hustle and bustle in the world we live in, the feeling of always needing to be ‘on to go’, responding back to everyone faster than ever, and life demands can be felt by both you and your child. Have you ever tried to sit down, learn/read about something new and it’s felt literally impossible because the phone has been going off, the television is on, or another distraction comes into the room? 
 
The same can be felt for your child. It’s easy for the mind to always be thinking about the next thing, the next task, which can be mentally draining and exhausting. This is when outdoor play is a great tool for both parents and children. The outdoors is a calming environment, with minimal distractions that encourage the mind to relax and be able to focus time and energy into a task. 
 
If you are finding your little one is constantly distracted or struggles to focus, try moving the action or activity outdoors, away from distractions. 
 
Benefits for both you and your family 
Becoming more calm and relaxed means that outdoor play can be fully enjoyed and maximized for learning purposes while providing great bonding time for you and the family. Take full advantage of the winter season and wrap up warm before heading out into the cold. Winter comes and goes by so quickly, therefore, make sure you and your little one get the most out of it! Frosty mornings, dewy mornings, cobwebs, different shapes and colours - ask your little one...how do things feel and smell? What shapes are they? What colours can you see? Encourage them to describe how the outdoor feels, smells and looks and subtly put their vocabulary to the test! Look to explore places which might have different animals and trees. 
 
Socialising & Creativity 
Getting in the outdoors can teach children key skills on how to interact with different children and people, especially those they have never met before. You don’t have to do all this by yourself either, why not get a whole team together and try doing these outdoor activities together? 
 
Outdoor play ideas: 
How many different colour leaves can you pick up? 
How many different shaped leaves can you find? 
How many animals have we seen? 
Tree paper crayon scratchings 
 
To bring the outdoor play inside… 
Take photos while they are on their travels to use when you’re home. 
Encourage them to draw their favourite photo from the day. 
Forest / outdoor spelling test. 
 
These are just examples of what you could do to help your child learn through outdoor play. Remember that there is no right or wrong way when it comes to outdoor play and how to help your child learn. It’s all about doing what you think your child will enjoy the most and benefit from the most. 
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