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When can a child play outside alone? 4 tips

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When can kids go alone playing outside unsupervised by mom and dad?

It is a situation that raises the necessary questions within education. Should you mainly listen to your gut, or should a child just be able to play outside from a certain age?

In this article I will answer all kinds of practical questions regarding when a child can play outside alone and I will explain why playing outside is so good for a child.

From when can children play outside alone

Even though most children from the age of 6 can play outside alone, you should still use your common sense. You can also gradually build up playing outside alone. An example of an outdoor game is 'Annemaria Koekoek'. There are all kinds of benefits to playing outside, including the development of social skills.

I will also mention some fun games that children can play outside.

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From what age can children play outside alone?

In fact, there is no set age at which experts say: From then on, children should be able to do it on their own to be able to play outside.

It largely depends on your child, and every child is different.

To determine whether your child is mature enough to play outside alone, you as a parent must take a good look at your child and use your common sense. The age does not always mean anything.

Some kids are more independent than others. You can already make good agreements with the independent children.

But there are children who need a little longer and don't really have a sense of responsibility yet.

Are there any guidelines for when a child can play outside independently?

There are indeed a number of guidelines from youth health care, so that you as a parent know approximately what your child should be able to do in a certain age phase.

  1. 0-4 : Children at this age are not yet able to play outside alone. This is because most toddlers are not yet able to properly assess hazards. As a parent you must therefore always supervise!
  2. 4-6 : You can now slowly build up playing outside alone, but only if you think your child is responsible enough.
  3. From 6 years old: From this age, most children can play outside alone. They can now also walk to school themselves or to a friend. However, it is important to walk along the first few times and to see how your child takes the routes. Always make clear agreements.

So there are certain guidelines, but again: go by your gut.

Even if your child has reached the age of 4 to 6, don't let him or her play outside alone if they are simply not ready yet!

What to look for when determining whether your child can play outside alone?

To better determine whether your child is ready to play outside alone, you can look at a number of skills and factors.

  1. Can your child keep to agreements? That is essential, because if a child is going to play outside alone, it is of course the intention that it adheres to the agreements that it has made with mom and dad.
  2. Where do you let your child play? Especially in the early years, let your child play somewhere where there is preferably no traffic.
  3. Does your child enjoy playing with other children?
  4. Is your child careful?
  5. What kind of atmosphere is there in the playground? Is there bullying or are there loiterers?

In addition to relying on your feelings and the degree of responsibility your child can bear, there are other things you should take into account when determining whether your child can play outside alone.

How do you build up playing outside alone?

If you are convinced that your child can play outside alone, it is important that you build this up.

You do this, for example, in the following way:

  1. First of all, make clear agreements with your child. Examples of these kinds of agreements are: don't just go with a stranger, don't cross the street and don't play dangerous games. Don't forget to keep repeating the agreements.
  2. You are there the first time. You let your child play alone and supervise from a distance. For example, sit at a distance and read a book.
  3. You start by letting them play outside for a while. Then you can build up the time. For example, start with 5 or 10 minutes and make it a little longer if everything goes well.

Do you find it all a bit scary? What you can do, for example, is agree with the parents you know that someone takes turns supervising.

Also let your child know who he can turn to if there is a problem and mom or dad are not around at that moment.

It is simply essential not to suddenly give your child all freedom, but to build it up slowly.

Also read: Children's clothing for the summer - time for outdoor play, time for holiday clothing

Tips for games while playing outside

In fact, a child needs very little to be able to play outside. Especially in a playground there are often enough devices available that a child can use.

But sometimes there is only a lawn, and then the kids have to use a little more imagination.

Below are some tips for fun games!

  1. Annemaria Cuckoo! Most children know this game, but just to be sure I will explain it quickly: one child is the 'Annemaria', which stands at a distance with its back to the rest of the children. The moment this person calls 'Annemaria Cuckoo', the rest of the children try to get as close as possible to the 'Annemaria'. After the child pronounces "Cuckoo," he or she quickly turns around. If he or she still sees a player moving, then that player has to go back to the beginning. The first player to reach the finish line unseen has won the game and is the next 'Annemaria'.
  2. Hide and seek. Does this need further explanation? Be sure to agree well in advance where the children can go to hide!
  3. sidewalk chalk. With sidewalk chalk you can do a lot! Not only can you make nice drawings on the tiles, but you can also use it to draw a hopscotch.
  4. Jumping rope. You probably know that too! Nice old fashioned! Jumping rope is great fun and also good for the condition. You can jump rope alone or with a group of children. Lots of fun guaranteed!

Of course you can always have a nice one buy pétanque set or bowling with plastic balls and skittles. Frisbee is also a nice idea or just playing football!

Even when it rains, playing outside is an option. Find the 25 best rain games here in a row!

What are the advantages of being able to play outside independently?

For children, playing outside really only means one thing: having fun with friends!

However, there are also a lot of benefits to playing outside from an educational point of view.

  1. Your child will grow and develop. Where your child used to be very dependent, it now goes out to pick up friends and play.
  2. Your child will learn what responsibility is and it will also become more resilient.
  3. As a parent, you can make time for yourself when your child is playing independently outside.
  4. A child learns new norms and values ​​when interacting with children from different backgrounds.
  5. It develops social skills.
  6. Good for motor skills.
  7. Playing outside makes you creative.

Being able to play outside alone is part of the healthy development of every child. It also gives mom and dad some air and free time now and then!

Also read: Best outdoor toys for the garden: 14 toys rated

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.