Let me start out by asking you a question. Where do your best childhood memories take place? Most, if not all, of mine took place outdoors. Playing make believe Dungeons and Dragons in my grandparent’s back yard with my cousins. Playing in the creek with my best friend. Swimming pools in the Texas heat. There are actual studies out there that state that the most important memories from our childhood usually take place outside…interesting huh? So why not give your children some of those memories?
Perks of outdoor play:
Great for gross motor skills
Helps with the development of risk taking and further understanding about their abilities and limitations.
Gives children room to explore their surroundings and find new, interesting things.
Plus…it’s a mood lifter!
My rule of thumb has always been to take a cranky kid outside…and it works every time! There is something about being in nature that makes children (and adults) relaxed and happy. Why is outdoor play so important?.
A few other things about outdoor play:
- It’s where they are free to run, jump, skip, twirl, etc.
- It’s also about the only place where a child can YELL!!
- It’s a wonderful place for make believe play. How many times have you seen children playing out elaborate scenarios with each other at the playground?
- It’s healthy to get out an move your body
- If facilitates and enjoyment of the outdoors.
- The best place ever to learn about their worlds. Think of all the stuff out there…leaves, trees, dirt, bugs, animals, sticks, flowers, plants…
- They can learn about gardening, ecology, science, farming, the seasons, weather…
- It’s always changing. Every time a child goes outside there’s something new to explore and find.
Tips on playing outside:
- Get appropriate clothing for all weather (rain boots, snow suites, sneakers, umbrellas, etc.)
- Make sure you’re comfortable. Dress yourself for outdoors, that way your not pushing your kids inside early because you’re cold
- Have toys outside: riding toys, sandbox, playground equipment, balls, etc.
- Do activities outside too. Sensory boxes and painting become even more fun outside on a pretty day.
- Play games. Take out balls for soccer, hide and seek, tag, etc. Adults get involved too!
Activity #8: Get outside!
I know, I know…it’s December and probably cold outside, and going outside might not sound all that fun today. But, I can almost guarantee that your child will have a wonderful time no matter the weather! Remember to dress for the weather…not only your kids, but you too! You don’t even have to plan a darn thing…just go!
Tomorrow: Sensory Play….My favorite!