Written by Editorial Team
Outdoor game is the kind of activity that helps kids learn more about the environment, care for nature, explore, experiment, move and develop comprehensively. All these things correspond to the Montessori education approach, as it emphasises the importance of hands-on learning and exploration. Outdoor activities benefit health and physical and emotional development equally.
Learning through research and play activities occurs relatedly, without constraining children in freely choosing activities and promoting their independence, determination, and ingenuity.
Montessori outdoor toys can help children develop curiosity, creativity, and ingenuity and promote physical, cognitive, sensory development, and social skills.
Maria Montessori, the founder of Montessori education, believed that children naturally desire to explore, and that outdoor play provides the perfect environment to interact with the natural world and develop their physical, social, and cognitive skills. At the same time, she emphasised several key aspects of street play.
Activities like gardening, cooking, and cleaning are more than just essential life skills. They also help children develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and concentration and promote a sense of independence and responsibility. Therefore, it is worth involving children in planting and watering plants, offering them games simulating cooking, and allowing them to be active and take the initiative.
Jumping, running, and exercises on balancers allow children to develop their gross motor skills and coordination of movements, be aware of their body in space, and strengthen their muscles. Physical activity directly impacts mental development, so when a child performs a variety of exciting exercises, it is easier for him to focus on learning and creative activities. Moreover, you can also playfully learn many valuable things on the street: shapes, figures, directions, and the simplest mathematical operations, as well as develop speaking and socialize with children. Playing makes it easier for children to befriend their peers and learn to interact in a team.
According to Montessori, sensory play is important for children’s cognitive, emotional, and social development because they learn through their senses. Meanwhile, walks and games outside promote sensory exploration. Kids can collect twigs, flowers, cones, and nuts, smell flowers, listen to birdsong, and feel the wind on their faces, and it is easy to try with no extra effort. In addition, children can experiment, explore, and recognise different textures and materials by touch while playing with mud, sand, and water. All this contributes to general awareness, develops creative thinking and speaking, calms the little one, and even relieves anxiety.
Watching the weather from the window is less enjoyable than basking in the sun or feeling the first raindrops on your cheeks. It is interesting for children to watch the insects that rustle in the flowers or make snowmen. At the same time, they learn to notice the change of weather depending on the seasons, observe how animals and birds behave, etc.
The Montessori method is often criticised for paying the slightest attention to the development of creativity, but in fact, the founder of this approach believed that children should be encouraged to express themselves through art. Moreover, it’s easy to do in the classroom and in the open air, where little ones can choose all available natural creative materials. According to the Montessori approach, such games become the basis for forming emotional intelligence, making children open and brave, and helping to cope with complicated or intense emotional states. But it is not necessary to allocate separate hours specifically for creativity: it is worth focusing on the calls and desires of the child and offering those game options that may interest the baby at any time, according to the condition, mood, and even the weather outside.
These aspects of the Montessori philosophy now constitute the basis of educational programs for children’s early development, and become the basis for such a direction in psychology as art therapy. Psychologists and teachers are unanimous that outdoor games are necessary for a child not only for learning but also for mental, emotional, and cognitive development. They help the child to cope with various tasks, add confidence, develop abilities, and contribute to the growth of an independent and self-reliant personality.
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