When faced with grey unwelcoming skies outside, it can be difficult to turn off the electronic devices and head out of doors, but this is precisely what the National Wildlife Federation recommends. They claim outdoor play can lead to better sleep for many children.


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Most worrying for parents are the reports given by the NWF that a lack of sleep can cause many problems in addition to the obvious grumpy child, such as stunted physical development, mental health issues and reduced academic achievement.

Physical Exertion

Playing outdoors, being physical by using outdoor play equipment such as climbing frames, trampolines, swings and slides, can help children to fall asleep more easily. The obvious physical exertion is enhanced by the exposure to natural light, which can re-set the natural body clock so that at bedtime our bodies know that it is time to go to sleep.

In addition, getting the heart rate raised for a longer period of time has proven benefits for children’s (as well as adult’s) health. And better physical shape ensures that a child can concentrate for longer periods and learn better.


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Spending time outdoors is generally accepted as being a great way to relax for many adults. However, research by the NWF also shows that it has a similar relaxing effect on children. Being exposed to the colours, smells and textures of nature clearly grounds us all, and can have an extremely soothing effect.

Play, Not Exercise

Whilst it is clear that playing outdoors, particularly on children’s wooden climbing frames such as those available at http://www.niclimbingframes.com/climbing-frames, is obviously a form of exercise, it is helpful that it is not labelled as such. Children simply see this activity as play and as a result will not be deterred, and are likely to spend a longer time engaged in their activities.

A climbing frame is a great addition to any family’s back garden. It is easier and more accessible than a trip to a park, which when it is raining can seem like a great chore to adults and children alike. There are a great range of climbing frames, swings and slides available these days – keeping your children away from the electronic screens will become much easier and the whole family will benefit from better sleep patterns.