Child's Development: Outdoor Play

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Outdoor play is a very important factor in every child’s development. “Outdoor environments are both comfortable, supportive and encourage skill building” (Sachs 4). (Hillman 67). “Positive outdoor experiences can foster a happier, healthier, smarter and better adjusted children and can create future stewards of the earth” (Hillman 67). Many children with disabilities are mostly structured to indoor environments and outside play can provide them with great benefits (Christensen 1). An example of this is how children with autism benefit greatly from nature. “Play through nature can help develop the five major areas of proper growth; social/emotional, intellectual, perceptual motor, physical development and sensory”, therefore when designing an outdoor play space for children with disabilities it is essential to have a proper, fun and safe design. All children including children with disabilities require special care and attention. Five major areas where these children need special attention are physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization. Physiological needs are the physical requirements for human survival, safety needs are what should be met to be kept safe, love and belonging is being able to feel love and accepted, esteem is about feeling respected, and self-actualization refers to what a person's full potential is and the realization of that potential. All of these areas are referred to in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs Pyramid made by Abraham Maslow in 1943 (see addendum one). With all of this being said, it is very important for children with disabilities to be able to meet all of these areas. This can be done be creating an outdoor environment that is designed for thos... ... middle of paper ... ...un and safe design. Works Cited Atmakur, Sruthi. “Playgrounds of Inclusion.” Unicef.org. Casey, Theresa. 12 April 2013. Web. 1 December 2013. http://www.unicef.org/sowc2013/focus_playgrounds_of_inclusion.html Christensen, Keith. “Creating Inclusive Outdoor Play Environments Designing for Ability Rather than Disability.” adventureislandplayground.org. Christensen, Keith. June 2000. Web. 14 December 2013. http://www.adventureislandplayground.org/Keith. Hillman, Carol. "Creating an Intimate Relationship with Nature” Exchange children’s Journal. 2 Jan. 2010. Nemours Foundation. "Playground Safety" KidsHeath.org. Nemours Foundation. June 2013. Web. 15 December 2013. Sachs, Naomi. "Outdoor Environments for Children with Autism and Special Needs." Implications. 25 April 2011. Print.

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