Bringing the Outdoors In: The Benefits of Indoor Play Areas

Bringing the Outdoors In: The Benefits of Indoor Play Areas

Bringing the Outdoors In: The Benefits of Indoor Play Areas

Rain or shine, the play must go on! There are endless benefits to combining outdoor fun with indoor play. We take a look at some of the biggest advantages of embracing indoor soft play & adventure.


It’s no secret that outdoor play is a vital part of growing up. It’s often viewed as being the superior choice to indoor play, and it’s easy to see why. Studies regularly suggest that kids undertake more physical activity when outside, helping to keep them healthy.

And one particular study – ‘Preschoolers’ executive functions following indoor and outdoor free play’ – found that outdoor play can even facilitate better learning. The researchers noted that spending time in less regulated settings (e.g. outdoor playgrounds) can result in greater focus and attention back in the classroom.

Because of this, there tends to be a really big focus on outdoor play. So much so that many overlook the fact that indoor play is still crucial. The truth is that, while outdoor play is certainly important, indoor play can still bring some major benefits. Here are just a few of the biggest and best.


Wider variety of play

Studies have found that children tend to engage in different types of play when they are inside compared to when they’re outside. In outdoor settings, kids usually spend their time in ‘functional’ play; playing with toys or engaging with equipment in the way they’re intended to be used. In indoor play areas, however, little ones are more likely to engage in ‘constructive play’ (creating and building) and ‘symbolic play’ (using toys and equipment in alternative ways). This highlights just how important indoor play areas can be in helping children develop a wide range of different skills.


Greater imagination

Spending time in nature is, of course, important for children. It’s important for all of us. But in nature, there may sometimes be less room for imagination and creativity. A tree is a tree. A flower is a flower. The playground is – that’s right – the playground. In well-designed indoor settings, there can be more scope for originality and invention.

Add in some soft play fish shapes, for example, and suddenly kids are transported to a whole new underwater world. Indoor play areas allow us to create environments that children may not otherwise get to experience, helping them boost their imagination and enhance their creativity.


All-weather play

According to the BBC, the average annual rainfall here in the UK is 1154mm. We usually get more than 170 wet days each year, which means that nearly half of our days aren’t quite suitable for outdoor play. It’s clear we need an alternative to ensure kids are still able to socialise, make new friends, develop their skills, and have fun, all through the year – even in rainy Britain!

Indoor play areas eradicate the unknown. There’s no ‘if the weather’s nice…’. Instead, they’re a constant source of learning and fun that parents can rely on at any time: spring, summer, autumn, and winter.


Safety & peace of mind

Some parents don’t always feel confident taking their children to outdoor playgrounds. One study found that parents can restrict the amount of time their children spend playing in outdoor settings for a variety of reasons. The most common include worries about traffic, rundown parks, crime, witnessing or becoming the victim of violence, drugs, gangs and weapons.

At times of worry, indoor play areas provide an alternative. They offer parents more peace of mind, allowing them to relax, safe in the knowledge that their little ones can play and explore in a protected environment.


Advanced skills development

Indoor play areas offer children the chance to step, crawl, climb and jump, knowing they're safe from harm. While they may be more reluctant to try new things outdoors, these indoor settings provide a sense of security that boosts confidence, encouraging them to experiment with different movements and activities.

These indoor environments offer a protective haven where kids can confidently explore their capabilities. Such exploration can accelerate skill development, and encourage them to push boundaries to build self-assurance, resilience, and risk management skills.


It’s time to head indoors

Every kid needs to spend time in nature, basking in the great outdoors. But at the same time, they need to be provided with an opportunity to explore, learn, and have fun in indoor settings, too.


Why not give your kids the best of both worlds – indoor and outdoor play – by building your very own soft play centre at home? Take a look at our collection, and get in touch if you have any questions.