The benefits of kids playing outdoors

Outdoor play is a huge part of childhood, it’s a chance for youngsters to engage with family and friends and learn vital skills without even realising. In fact,  spending time outside has actually been directly linked to physical, social and emotional growth. 

In Chapelton, we wanted to create a space that offers children the chance to connect with the natural world and reap the benefits it has to offer, so earlier this year, we unveiled Patey Park, a unique playground for youngsters to experience endless moments of creativity and imagination.

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What is Patey Park? 

Chapelton’s Patey Park is on the top of Cairnhill in the heart of the town. It features a vast range of natural elements that have been designed to encourage imaginative play and is perfect for skill development due to its layout. 

Ideal for keen adventurers, the park is challenging, motivating children to explore the grounds and find out more about nature. 

What are the main benefits of outdoor play? 

The Scottish Government states that outdoor play “improves physical health” as well as “promotes mental, social and emotional well-being by helping to reduce stress”. 

Additionally, it advises that this activity boosts “the development of essential social skills” thanks to meeting new people and having conversations with peers. 

We caught up with Early Years Senior Practitioner at Newtonhill Primary, Jane Wallis to find out more. She said: “One of the key strands of the curriculum of excellence is confident individuals and playing in an outdoor setting will encourage self-assurance in children. 

“It also promotes creativity and imagination, with natural play also supporting the development of motor and sensory skills as children run and climb on different surface levels of terrain.”

How does Patey Park encourage children to develop these skills? 

The park’s landscape has been strategically crafted to inspire thinking and exploration. 

Spread over a vast area, young adventurers can explore a series of winding paths, journey over mounds and slopes, rocks and boulders, logs, tree stumps, and balance beams and at the same time, will be developing their motor and sensory abilities.  

Throughout the park, there are bases with flags for group games and nature areas where kids can take a break from playing and sit with their friends, both of which contribute to teamwork and communication skills. 

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Why is outdoor play important? 

Jane explained: “Outdoor play is so different from indoor play and provides opportunities for children to develop different skills and areas of their personalities.

“Natural play holistically supports the development of a young person by connecting mind, body and soul. 

“By exploring natural environments, children develop many valuable skills including decision making, problem solving and risk assessing to name a few. Once developed, skills like these will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

“I am sure that the children who come to play in Patey Park will use the creative opportunities that it has to offer and these adventures will become fond childhood memories that they reflect on later in life.”

Where is Patey Park? 

Firstly, navigate to The Hut on Liddell Place in Chapelton using the postcode AB39 8BA. Once you arrive here, continue up Liddell Place, passing Landale Court (Brio Retirement Living) on the left and new construction on the right. Now follow the fenced pathway through the construction site and a temporary pedestrian crossing for your safety. 

Please note that the ground here can be rough underfoot so please take care. Continue up the ramp to the top of the hill where you will find Patey Park.

Come and play, adventure awaits! 

Read more about the benefits of outdoor play on the Scottish Government website.

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