With regular outdoor play, parents are likely to notice improvements in their child’s large motor skills. Too much time indoors can mean a lack of sensory and developmental experiences.

At this stage, a growing child needs lots of opportunities to practise using their big muscles through running, jumping and climbing. Doing this outdoors is best.

If children are often indoors and sitting in front of a screen, it may mean they’re not having enough sensory and developmental experiences, which are necessary for a healthy brain.

Parents might need to encourage their child to get off the couch and away from technology. The best way to do this will be by leading the way – outside! With regular outdoor play, parents are likely to notice improvements in their child’s large motor skills.

Ask whānau:

  • What opportunities does your tamaiti have for outdoor play?
  • What do they most enjoy doing when they’re outside?
  • How do you feel about that?
  • What do you think a child gains from playing outside?

Playing outside

Plenty of outside play helps build a child’s confidence in using both large and small motor skills. If the outside area at home is unsuitable for a young child to explore safely, talk about other options. Visits to parks, the beach and empty spaces may be needed for running, jumping, climbing, sliding and swinging.

Ball play is especially enjoyable for children and can involve kicking, throwing and chasing.

  • Can you remember playing outside when you were young?
  • What areas are available in your neighbourhood and community for your whānau to play outside?
  • How easy is it for you to use these places?
  • What do you think would help make it easier?

Being in nature

At this age, a child doesn’t need special toys for outdoor exploring and playing. Just being outside and experiencing the natural elements like wind or rain can be entertaining for them.

Playing and exploring natural resources like trees, leaves, pine cones, sand, waves, sticks and stones are all interesting to them.

How does this relate to Tākai resources?

Baby wall frieze – E aroha ana ahau ki te ako – I love to learn using all my senses

By being outside I'm learning from everything I see, hear, smell, touch and taste. It all helps my brain to connect and strengthen pathways.

Six things children need – Te hanga ao tōtika, ao haumaru – Structured and secure world

We can enjoy lots of active, noisy and messy play outside together.

Helpful resources for whānau