At the height of summer there are not many things that can beat the feeling of having fun outside with the family. The barbecue is cooking, you have your friends over and the children are playing their games in the garden. Sure, the children may be having a great time but there is also a lot of learning happening too. We have categorised some of the benefits of playing garden games in to cognitive, social and physical aspects.
– Perhaps we should start with the most important point about games. They’re fun! The excitement youngsters feel when playing garden games gives them the opportunity to develop in a positive environment.
– Garden games also improve the mental agility of children. They need to use their memories in order to stick with the rules of the game and learn from their mistakes so as not to repeat them.
– Improves analytical thinking. Whilst waiting for their next ‘turn’ children will learn they need to plan their next move in advance. They need to try and outsmart the other player in order to win.
– Emotional development. Depending on the outcome of the garden game being played children are taught to handle losing, helping friends deal with losing and, being gracious when winning. They also learn how to overcome defeat with the desire to try again.
– Garden games teach children how to succeed. Games are goal driven so in order to become the winner the child must overcome the obstacles standing in their way.
– Self control. Garden games are all about rules and regulations. Children need to stick within the rules of the game; turn taking, impulse control, behaviour that is/isn’t fair.
– Interaction encourages children to be more sociable. Negotiation, turn taking, correcting and challenging each other all involve communication.
– Strengthens family relationships. No sitting silently in front of the television, just good old fashioned interaction!
– Children who are withdrawn or anxious can use the playing of garden games to express themselves. Have you ever seen the shy child getting really in to a garden game? They often turn in to little monsters!
– Improves physical agility. The physical exercise involved with playing a garden game encourages children to keep active and therefore healthier.
– Motor co-ordination is developed. Fine and gross. Fine responsible for writing and drawing. Gross responsible for balance, co-ordination and flexibility.
– Fun way to exercise in this digital age. No sitting immobile in front of the computer or television. Garden games encourage movement which in turn is a great way for children to keep in shape.
It’s not difficult to see how the benefits of playing a garden game can have a positive impact on every aspect of children’s lives. There are a lot of lessons that can be learned in the safe and encouraging home environment that will arm children with the skills they need to survive in the ‘real’ world.
Gary Mullen from Garden Games.
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