When you were a child, odds are you spent every waking moment outdoors, playing with the neighborhood kids, catching crawdads, following butterflies wherever they flittered, and climbing trees. Fast forward to the twenty-first century where our society has been dominated by technology — and not necessarily all for good. Sheldon Acres Child Development Center in Elk Grove believes in the power and the necessity of outdoor play to help your child develop life skills and foster early learning. In this blog post, we’ll review the importance of outdoor play and how outdoor play is integral to Sheldon Acres Child Development Center and its early learning programs. Contact us today!


  • Experience the great outdoors. As our environment shrinks due to urban development and population growth, many kids don’t know what the stars look like at night, the beauty of a forest, or the endless rows of a field of flowers. Outdoor play will help children develop a sense of the importance of the environment and of all the animals and plants in it.
  • Exercise. Kids spend enough time during the school year, sitting and learning. And with the preponderance of convenience food at every turn, is it a wonder childhood obesity is at an all-time high in the United States? Sending kids outdoors to play will encourage them to run, frolic, and play basketball, as well as develop essential motor skills, such as balance and coordination, and foster early learning
  • Social and decision-making skills. Kids need unstructured time with other kids in order to learn social skills and decision-making skills. They do this when they are  left by themselves to figure out how to entertain themselves, what games to play, how to figure out problems such as climbing trees and how to multitask.
  • Self-discovery. Being outdoors leads a child to question everything around him or her. Why do butterflies spin cocoons? Why do birds tweet? Why do earthworms dig? Furthermore, without supervision, he or she is free to be himself or herself. He or she doesn’t have to wonder what others will think if they lie in the grass for hours and see shapes in the clouds, or if he or she finds a snail and watches it use its foot to slither, leaving a trail behind. There are endless teaching tools in nature and endless early learning possibilities for kids to use their imaginations — and frankly for them to be kids.

It’s so easy to plop your child in front of the TV or to hand him or her a hand-held video game while you get chores done around the house. It’s also easy to do this when he or she is being fussy or even inconsolable. No doubt about it, moving images are mesmerizing for children. However, parents need to be careful how much screen time their children are having. Encouraging outdoor play is one way for parents to help their child develop social skills, personality traits, a love of nature, and have fun.

Sheldon Acres Child Development Center affords endless possibilities for children to explore the world around them on our two-acre property in Elk Grove. Offering the best pre-school and kinder readiness programs, as well as before and after school care for kids in grades K through 6th grade, Sheldon Acres Child Development Center is a child’s paradise and a parent’s delight. Contact us today!