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Building Brains with Outdoor Play!

Pop Quiz!

True or false: A child cannot build their brain unless they are sitting at a desk inside.

If you guessed false, you are correct!

There are so many ways to build your child's brain and help them flourish into thriving and successful people as they grow. As we head into the last few months of summer, there are plenty of opportunities to be outdoors and stay active. Here are some ways to support their development and build your child's brain while outdoors!


Resiliency is having the capacity to "bounce back" from challenging situations. When you are outside, this might look like your child attempting to climb a tree and falling down. However, resiliency is your child knowing that they can try again!

You can help your child develop resiliency while outdoors by encouraging them to explore and do things independently, such as climbing on a structure themselves or going down the slide alone. If they are not successful the first time, that's ok! They can try again. Encouraging your child to try again might sound like "I believe in you!" or "You can do hard things!" As we have learned earlier this year, YOU are your child's first and most important teacher and hearing that their favourite person believes in them will help your child believe in themselves.

Serve and Return

Serve and return is one of the easiest ways to create a strong foundation for your child to build their brain. Think of serve and return as a tennis match. Your child speaks to you (the serve) and you speak back or acknowledge what they say (the return). Serve and return interactions strengthen the pathways also known as synapses in your child's brain.

Serve and return outdoors might look like you laughing with your child as they go down the slide, talking back and forth with them as you walk together or even just smiling at your infant as you push them on the swing.

Attachment and Bonding

Creating a strong trusting bond with your child from a young age will help them develop the ability to create and sustain relationships late in life and it's is easy! All you need to do is be there for them. Laugh with them. Play with them. Talk to them and take the time to listen to what they have to say. Creating a strong attachment and bond with your child while exploring the outdoors may look like keeping proximity to your child, noticing and naming what they are doing and playing and having fun with them.

Your child does not need fancy toys, expensive things or to sit and do worksheets to build their brain. It is happening all day every day as you spend time together. All they need is you!



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