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The Benefits of Outdoor Play

Outdoor play in Emya Nordic onesie. Winter kids onesie.

All parents know that seeking advice on what’s best for their child can be fraught. Between breastfeeding, sleep and screen time, it often feels like making the smallest choice requires a PHD and a 20,000-word thesis.

So it’s a relief when parenting recommendations can agree on some thing.

Welcome to outdoor play, and kids. Put simply, it’s good for them.

The consensus among experts is that free play, outside that allows kids to climb, dig and even fall, should be embraced as early as possible. The Australian Children’s Care Quality Authority lists physical development, a boosted immune system and sleep (yes, even sleep!) as some of the many benefits of outdoor play for kids as little as 6 months old.

We know you’re wondering what sleep has to do with rolling in the dirt.

Parenting expert Dr Gwen Dewar wrote on Parenting Science that getting plenty of sunlight helps us distinguish between day and night at an early age. It also tunes the inner clock to the circadian rhythm and has been shown to produce melatonin which forms healthy sleep cycles in children. And when they  get older, it’s even more important.

Parenting guru Steve Biddulph said recently of pre-schoolers that, “movement is needed to develop the brain properly. It is so needed that it actually hurts to stay still”.

We know a lot of parents are probably staring at their wriggling three-year-old right now and nodding along to that quote… the good news is there’s plenty of room for them to get moving outside your front door.

The great outdoors is the best, and most exciting place to explore - a vital thing for kids to be doing between the ages of 6 and 18 months.

Biddulph says kids begin to teach themselves about the world at this age, and they do so by tasting, grabbing, pushing, carrying, pulling and eating everything in sight. He said to do this properly kids need to be “free of demands to perform, such as sitting up primly or being cute”.

Kids outdoor onesie, Emya Nordic coverall, winter onesie

As mums, we agree. Our kids should be free to move and play without worrying about how they look, and their clothes should let them do that. Plus, all that time outside could even help your little one make friends. Yep, a study done in Australia of almost 600 kids between the ages of 2 and 5 showed the kids who played outdoors regularly had increased “social savvy”. In other words, when they’re in outdoor public places they interact with more kids and learn to play better.

But if you’re heading out the door, it’s important to remember that clothing is key.

The Australian Children’s Care Quality Authority advises the clothes small children wear should be comfortable, safe and protect them from sun, wind, cold and rain. The Nordic coverall, the outdoor kids onesie, baby winter romper is such a staple item because it does all that, and looks ADORABLE at the same time.

Our Emya Nordic coverall is designed to do just that. It is fully lined and has a soft-shell, water-resistant exterior, perfect for hours spent outside in chilly, and slightly wetter months.

We always knew exploring, learning and getting dirty outside is the best way to be a kid… now we know the experts agree!

Happy wandering.

x Terhi & Leena

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