Although outdoor play for children may be more prevalent during summer, spending free time outside can particularly benefit a child’s development when pursued year-round. For parents and educators, hours spent outside shouldn’t be seen as a detraction from time that could be spent on schoolwork. Rather, outdoor play should be recognized not just as a treat reserved for summertime, but as a full-time staple of healthy development throughout the school year.
In addition to its more commonly known health benefits, outdoor play in childhood is also associated with many soft skills that are important for school success, such as executive functioning. Executive functioning is defined as a set of mental processes that enable us to plan, prioritize, focus attention, filter distractions, and more. These skills are important assets for learning in preschool, elementary school, and beyond.