Your BRIDGE back to being active at every age and stage

child plays in the sand

Outdoor Play is Magical for Child Development! ­čÖî

The theme for this week …

Physical activity in the outdoors is so amazing for our well-being! It’s also amazing for the sensory-motor development of our kids at each age and stage.

This is the second in a series about being active outdoors. You can find the first, which outlined benefits of being active outdoors, here. Read on …

Having fun and getting messy outdoors is amazing for child development!

As wonderful as it is for adults to spend time outside, the varied environment is magical for kids. In the outdoors they can be curious, create fantasy worlds, and explore the wet/dry, mud/sand, heavy/light contrasts that abound.

For some ideas of what to do with your kids outdoors, this paper “The Importance of Outdoor Play and Its Impact on Brain Development” from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, outlines suitable outdoor activities by developmental age.

If you are trying to find age appropriate activities for a child or grandchild, this can be a handy reference.

Why outdoor exploration?

Research shows us that many of the fundamental tasks that children must achieve, such as exploring, risk-taking, fine and gross motor development, and the absorption of vast amounts of basic knowledge can be most effectively learned through outdoor play.

A few highlights:

  • Visceral experience of abstract concepts: When children move over, under, through, besides, and near objects, a child better grasps the meaning of these prepositions and geometry concepts.
  • Comprehension of complex terminology: When children are given the opportunity to physically demonstrate action words as stomp, pounce, stalk, or slither, or descriptive words such as smooth, strong, gentle, or enormous, word comprehension is immediate and long lasting.
  • Contextual comprehension: Comprehension is greater when the words are used and learned in context, as opposed to being a mere collection of letters and pictures on a screen.

When children struggle with being outdoors, what might be going on?

At The Bridging® Institute we often find children who shy away from playgrounds, walks in the woods, and climbing have common developmental disruptors in their background.

These include:

  • Early birth or birth requiring NICU stay. The trauma of the NICU support often leaves behind sensory-motor challenges.
  • Early life surgery which affects core muscle coordination needed for balance.
  • Early life respiratory illness which tends to limit the way the arms get support from the core.

These are a sample of events that can disrupt the development of coordination. The good news is that it can change!

The Bridging® technique finds the gaps in muscle coordination and gently resets them. Your child will be climbing and exploring in new ways within days!

Insight of the week from Cara

children playing oudoorsThese wonderful photos are of Becki’s daughter playing outdoors. (Becki Logan is one of our Bridging┬« Specialists.) Becki and friends meet up daily — sun, rain, and cold — for time outdoors. It’s a magical time for the kids and the adults, where learning can take on new meaning just by change of season and weather.

There are two main reasons she has found Bridging® to be an essential part of their outdoor routine:

  • Resetting muscle coordination after occasional bumps and spills that seem to be inherent in curious play.
  • Assessing coordination gaps that are related to early developmental glitches. Once found, these muscle coordination patterns are gently reset and reintegrated.

Why is Bridging® different?

Help for your child’s coordination and balance comes from two unique parts of our solution:

  • Problem-solving: Taking the time to find the root cause of why they have a hard time with balance, walking, running, or rowing. It might be a long-forgotten event of pregnancy or birth!
  • Muscle reset process: The gentle rocking and stretching motion of Bridging┬« resets muscle memory allowing them to move more confidently.

The whole goal is to enable your child to be outdoors exploring and playing safely and confidently!