What does outdoor play have to do with Maths?

How playing outside can give your child’s Maths education a jumpstart

“The best classroom and the richest cupboard are roofed only by the sky.” – Margaret McMillan

Today’s children deserve childhood memories filled with grass stains, muddy patches and sun-kissed smiles, just like we enjoyed all those years ago. As parents, caregivers and educators, we need to do our best to make this possible using whichever safe, outdoor spaces we have at our disposal.

Benefits of outdoor play

Playing outside is not only lots of fun, it’s also really beneficial to children’s development as it:

  • Expends pent-up energy
  • Develops muscle strength and coordination
  • Increases flexibility, fine and gross motor skills
  • Encourages a love of exercise
  • Exposes children to fresh air and sunshine
  • Connects children with nature
  • Contributes to learning
  • Boosts self-confidence

Outdoor play is so important that it forms part of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) curriculum for children in the Foundation Phase.

Outdoor games teach children important life lessons like problem solving (hide and seek), sequencing and prioritising (hopscotch), and strategic thinking (duck, duck, goose). Even Maths principles can be practised outdoors. By climbing, jumping, swinging, running, throwing and catching, children are building their mathematical vocabulary of concepts such as up/down, over/under, high/low, fast/slow, while at the same time developing their perceptual-motor skills. Sand and water play enhance children’s understanding of mass, volume and capacity, and playing together teaches sharing, collaboration and respect.

Toys that add to the fun of outdoor play

There are so many toys that can add value to your child’s outdoor play experience, including hoola hoops, bean bags, skipping ropes, rackets, bats and balls, and toys for the sandpit.

Here are three of our top tips when it comes to buying outdoor toys:

  • Durability – inevitably, playthings will be left outside so make sure you buy toys that can make it through more than one thunderstorm.
  • Individual and group play – buy a range of toys so your child is able to play alone, or with a playmate for hours on end.
  • Grow-with-me – choose toys that are versatile in application (i.e. not just suitable for one game) so your child can enjoy them for years to come.

Truly Toys stock a wide range of toys suitable for outdoor play. To find out more about our educational products that are aligned with the Department of Education’s CAPS curriculum, please visit our website or contact us for a quote: 011 618 1337 / sales2@trulytoys.co.za.

Further reading:

A note on the ‘further reading’ links – to make the blog post look neater on the web, you can always hyperlink the text (name of article and institution) to the link, rather than having the long links appear in the blog.