As the warm weather rolls in, many families will be heading outdoors. It’s important to put the devices down and make time to be outside. Tracy Martin-Turgeon from The Children’s Workshop explains the benefits of outdoor activity.
What the outdoors helps with:
• By spending more time outdoors with children, it helps with vision. Children who spend more time outdoors may be less likely to suffer from nearsightedness.
• Provides Vitamin D
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, lots of kids are suffering from vitamin D deficiencies. This vitamin has several health benefits, including preventing kids from future bone problems, diabetes and even heart disease.
• The outdoors can help in reducing stress, ADHD, depression and anxiety. Some studies have shown that when children are exploring the outdoors it increases in these areas.
• Increases creativity
• Increases imaginative play
• Increases attention
• Cultivates gratitude and mindfulness
• Nurtures love, honor and respect
• Increases confidence
• Increases problem solving skills and teamwork
• Results in social inclusion
• Develops a deep connection with nature and all living things
• Provides positive social interactions for all children
• Improves agility, coordination and balance
• Develops risk assessment abilities and critical thinking skills
• Develops strength and endurance
• Reduces childhood obesity
• Heightens overall use of senses
We recognize this at the Children’s Workshop and make sure that our outdoor time is part of our curriculum. Children have morning outdoor time as well as afternoon outdoor time. When the weather is nice some our centers take snack outdoor and extra activities to explore. When visiting centers, you want to ask about their outdoor time. What does it consist of? What types of things do the children and teachers do outdoors? We understand that parents have busy schedules and want to make sure that your child gets plenty of outdoor learning time.
When children explore outside they are given opportunities to use their imagination, explore natural items, take a hands-on approach and observe items that they might normally explore. We tend to shelter children more so than we did in back in earlier years. We don’t let children take risk. “A hazard is something a child does not see. A risk is a challenge a child can see and chooses to undertake or not. Eliminating risk leads to a child’s inability to assess danger.” By Katey Mairs
Some things you can do with your children and outdoors is balance on a rock, balance on a log, jump in a leaf pile, skip rocks in a body of water, find a rainbow, get a blanket and look up at the stars, play in the rain or explore a trail. Build a bridge with sticks and rocks get dirty really dirty. But most of all play outside, enjoy what nature can give you, make a list of things to do and check it off as you do them. Most of all have fun because kids become adult’s way to fast.
Resources: American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Nature Deficit, and prevent disease
B-Roll children catching bubbles on construction paper to count outside, building with rocks and sticks.