As much as playing outside benefits your children physically, it also helps them find their voice. Outdoor play improves kids’ communications and academic skills, especially reading and writing. The play-worlds created by children have an important role in language and literacy development. They are worlds of stories, conflict, negotiation and experimentation.
What opportunities does outdoor-play offer for literacy development?
Exploring words and print in the environment. For example, notices, signs and warning.
Using voice in a variety of ways – from whispering to loud shouting.
Developing social and communication skills when playing with others.
Using language to create roles and experiences – such as driving a car or playing a ghost.
Learning descriptive vocabulary relating to outdoors – such as weather, plants and traffic.
As an adult, what can you do?
Encourage quiet or shy children to find their voice in an outdoor setting, and let all children experiment with their energy and volume.
Introduce the language of movement/actions and give children the opportunity to practice the new vocabulary.
Offer an environment that encourages children to explain, share and talk about what they are doing.
Demonstrate strategies such as listening and negotiating respectfully.
Outdoor play has multiple benefits, including helping your child find their voice. Kids who are better writers, readers and communicators are more confident, making them better storytellers who are able to speak up and express themselves.