Jul 25, 2017

Why Outdoor Play has always been Important for my monkies


If you have been reading my blog long enough, you will know that I am a strong advocate for experiential learning - the process of learning through experience - for kids. Which explains why I am always looking for places and activities in Singapore to keep my monkies occupied whenever the weekends roll along.

Because quite frankly, one of the most important things that Parenthood has taught me is the best place for a kid to learn is outside. For a child, it is always more fun to be outdoors because being outside is vital to a kid’s growth, and his/her emotional and mental development. Kids learn better through these experiences which cannot be replicated in the classroom.

Unfortunately for today's kids, the competition for attention with television, electronic devices and video games is tremendous. From playing on iPads to watching YouTube videos, kids tend to be spending more and more time indoors, leading to a more sedentary lifestyle.

The Importance of Outdoor Play

On the other hand, playing outdoors is a form of exercise that promotes well-being and wholesome physical development. Outdoor play is important because kids really gain a sense of mastery and competency of skills from outdoor play.

When they do something like climb up a little dirt hill and try to find their way down on their own, they learn they can do this, which really adds to their sense of confidence. In the process, they also gain important physical and coordination skills.

And in my books, there is nothing quite like going on an aerial obstacle course for a session of holistic outdoor play.

Forest Adventure at Bedok Reservoir has recently upgraded and re-opened its Kids Course and Grand Course (its Junior Course is still under renovation at the time of writing), and I figured it was time for a re-visit once again... considering our last visit was 5 years ago when Ash and Ayd were 7 and 5 years old respectively, and Ale was barely walking!

Needless to say, the monkies were all excited to conquer the Kids Course. Can you tell that they were getting impatient from all the unnecessary (their word, not mine) photo-taking???

The Kids Course is specially designed for children aged 5 to 10 and who are least 1.1m tall. It consists of 2 levels and has 22 crossings including two awesome zip lines.

The course is all about ropes, nets, cables, zip lines and tricky steps... which to be honest, are not that tough at all.

Rather, it is the height as well as the ability to put one's faith in the safety harness that truly put your mental strength to the test. So for kids who are trying it out for the first time, that may be the biggest stumbling block.

Thankfully though, both Ash and Ayd had been through enough aerial obstacles to clear them effortlessly.

Again, I would like to think that bringing them outdoors throughout the years have had a positive impact in building up their self-confidence and mental resilience. They simply adore outdoor obstacles like these and will pounce on any chance to take them on.

Ale, on the other hand, was a little different... initially.

Granted that she did not have as many chances to grapple with similar obstacle courses as her older brothers, it was understandable that she was a tad apprehensive when she made her first move on the Kids Course.

She moved ever so gingerly across the planks, worrying that she may fall should she miss a step.

But kudos to her brothers, who encouraged and stopped to egg her on along the way.

And that is another benefit of outdoor play, no? Kids get to hone their social skills while playing outdoors too. They will be more likely to talk to different children, make new friends and in the process, it encourages kids to learn social skills and how to interact with other children away from adult supervision.

And all the encouragement that Ale received from her brothers really mattered when it was time to take the leap from the platform at the zip line.

And when she took that leap of faith, there was no stopping her.

Round 2 saw Ash and Ayd graduating to Level 2 of the course and while Ale really wanted to go it as well, the instructor asked her to complete Level 1 one more time so as to build up her confidence.

Once again, there was no stopping the boys.

To Ale's credit, she had improved tremendously during the second round... clearing the obstacles without breaking a sweat.

And then, something happened.

Whether it was overconfidence or purely a slip, Ayd missed a plank and fell. Obviously the safety harness came to the rescue but what was important is how we pick ourselves up after we fall. Ayd picked himself up from the plank and continued on, this time being more aware of the planks that he was stepping on.

And this also applies to life in general, doesn't it? Sometimes, we all need to fall before we are able to combat our own inhibitions and learn from it.

Round 2 was promptly done and dusted, and the instructor deemed Ale qualified enough to go onto Level 2 of the Kids Course.

To say she was happy like bird was an understatement. Look at her go!

I think it is safe to say that the monkies were truly upset when all three rounds of the Kids Course were completed. Because kids being kids, they are naturally drawn to active play outdoors. Being outdoors allows them to better appreciate the natural surroundings around them. Because the natural world is filled with beautiful sights, sounds, and textures, kids can learn much through their senses.

From seeing animals and insects and hearing birds singing and leaves rustling, to touching that rough tree bark and tasting dew from a leaf, it is OKAY TO GET MESSY. Because what's learning without a little dirt here and there... or even a tiny scratch?

Which is why Breeze - yes, that laundry detergent brand - has partnered with Forest Adventure to encourage outdoor play among kids. Breeze believes in celebrating exploratory, outdoor play... especially the kind that involves getting messy.


For starters, because DIRT IS GOOD. And if you are worried about the first reason, here's the second: Breeze detergent provides tough stain removal in only one step, which means parents can give their children the freedom to experience life, have fun and get dirty, without having to worry about laundry!

And they mean it... because for every purchase of a 4.4kg / 4kg Breeze liquid detergent (with promo sticker), one kid goes for free with every full paying ticket! Terms and conditions apply. For more information, visit HERE.

For more details, visit Breeze Singapore's Facebook page.

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