Outdoor games are known for their significant educational benefits. By encouraging children to take on challenges and make decisions together, they help them develop technical, intellectual and social skills.
In this category of activities, there are various forms of orienteering, the use of a climbing wall or cycling route, as well as team activities, with problems to be solved.
From a psychological point of view, such games help the child to change posture and feel able to do things that can affect all aspects of school life. They instill in them a sense of determination that gives them the confidence to take on challenges, express and deal with their emotions and the drive to succeed.
It is also a way to help children overcome their fears, anxieties or stress. Very often, this involves taking them out of their comfort zone to expose them to scenarios they are not used to. These can be situations that they perceive as too difficult or potentially dangerous, and it helps them to better define the boundary between risk and safety.
Sports and physical education teachers are thus tasked with imagining and proposing to students situations of this magnitude, which favors their psychological development as much as possible, while presenting a minimum of risks. In the UK, for example, programs include outdoor activities. It is about giving participants intellectual and physical challenges that encourage them to work as a team, gain confidence and at the same time solve problems.
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Academically, these activities have the advantage of providing teaching across the curriculum that allows students to improve their reading, writing, arithmetic and communication skills – with applications to other core subjects such as mathematics, geography and science.
These skills can be emphasized through games that test self-confidence and build team spirit. These also consolidate the sense of cooperation and responsibility. Many of these activities are thus welcome to facilitate the transition between primary and secondary, at a time when self-confidence is particularly important.
Physical education teachers should also think about the types of exercises that children can do at home.
Include all students
Young people engage in activities outside of school that are very different from the sports included in the programs, such as cricket or rugby. Many of them thus enjoy cycling in their free time, and offering the opportunity to cultivate this activity in school environments could increase the attractiveness of physical education for a larger number of students.
At the University of Brighton, for example, trainees were introduced to this relatively new concept of ‘physical education on wheels’, taking advantage of the popularity of mountain bikes, BMX bikes, skateboarding and scooter racing, yet few schools have seen the potential in these . sports to increase the level of activity of children and young people.
These outdoor activities are ideal for involving all students, including those with special educational needs, and who with a few minimal adjustments can be made available to them so that they can work with others.
Unfortunately, for the sake of cost, expertise, equipment and time, many children cannot share such experiences. However, this type of approach should not be reserved for schools near forests or mountain ranges. These activities can be organized directly on site, even in schools that have limited outdoor space.