How Outdoor Play Encourages Confidence in Toddlers

by NDFAuthors

  • Feb 03, 2023

Outdoor play is an important part of childhood development, and it’s especially beneficial for toddlers who are in a crucial developmental stage of their lives. It’s clear that whether at school or in their personal time, being in the great outdoors can have so many benefits on both the physical and mental wellbeing of children. Not only will they have the chance to learn new skills, but spending more time outdoors can also help to build children’s confidence, as it exposes them to new and exciting experiences. This exposure helps them to become confident and resilient when faced with difficult or unfamiliar tasks. Let’s take a look at some of the ways outdoor play can help to boost confidence in toddlers.

Physical activity

Outdoor play allows children to engage in physical activities that are not possible indoors. When toddlers play outdoors, they are exposed to activities such as running, climbing, jumping, and digging that give them the opportunity to explore their own capabilities. These activities will help them become more confident in their ability to move and navigate the world around them. Furthermore, they’ll also help in the development of children’s motor skills and coordination which will further contribute to their confidence in everyday situations.

As reported in this guide to the benefits of outdoor learning experiences, less than 45% of children currently get the recommended amount of physical activity on a daily basis. It’s important to find different ways children can fill their exercise quota, and simply spending more time outdoors is one great way to achieve this.

Problem-solving skills

When toddlers explore the environment around them through outdoor play, they are exposed to a variety of problems they must solve on their own or with help from adults or friends. This could include figuring out how to use a toy or working with others on a team project. Or, on longer outdoor adventures, you could ask them to help figure out a route for an afternoon walk, or even to help pitch the tents.

Solving these problems encourages toddlers to think critically and creatively while developing problem-solving skills that will last into adulthood. With each successful problem solved comes newfound confidence in their ability to work through challenges independently or with others.

Interacting with nature

Being outside gives toddlers access to nature’s wonders like animals, plants, rocks and other natural elements they cannot find indoors. Interacting with nature helps children learn about the world around them in an enjoyable way while teaching them respect for the environment and its inhabitants. And as they explore their surroundings and get comfortable being outdoors, this feeling of familiarity will boost their self-confidence even more, and enhance their affinity with the environment.

As the next generation grows up, it’s important that they have a close relationship with the natural world, to help protect the planet from some of the dangers that are threatening its future. Instilling these values in children from an early age will hopefully mean they gain a greater appreciation and appetite for nature.


Toddlers who spend time outdoors benefit from increased physical activity, improved problem-solving skills, and greater interaction with nature – all of which are essential for building self-confidence as well as overall wellbeing for young children. So make sure your toddler gets enough time outside – it’s one of the best things you can do for promoting healthy growth now and into adulthood.

Paul Martin completed his formal education at a prestigious university in England, where he studied early childhood education. Since graduating, Paul has gone on to work in several roles within the education field and he enjoys helping out at his local football team on the weekends.