Growing up I remember playing outside regardless of the weather. We definitely spend more time outside in the summer since it was nicer and summer break. Growing up with my two younger sisters and a bunch of kids from the neighborhood we were never bored or inside of the house. We loved playing with dirt, and pretending we were cooking/baking. In the winter we enjoyed playing in the snow, whether it was snowball fight, sledding, building a snowman or a snow fort.
Being a mother of three I encourage my children to play outside as much as possible. I must admit in the winter they don’t spend much time. Girls love going outside and making their snowman and when they get cold they are in the house. Hopefully, when they get a bit older they will be interested in sledding, snowball fights and will enjoy spending more time outside in the winter as well. When they are in school they go outside for rises which is not enough.
This is a picture of them with their snowman
Raising children in today’s technology-driven world, we often see more children attacked to electronics. Meaning they are not getting all the benefits from being outdoors. Starting with my children if I let them, they would be either watching TV or using the iPad all day long. I try limiting screen time as much as possible. I think it is important for all of us to be reminded of some crucial benefits of playing outside.
Benefits of playing outside:
- Healthy Physical Development when kids spend time outside, they benefit from outdoor light which is beneficial for our immune system. Playing outside keeps kids active, increasing their physical stamina and fitness, strengthening their muscles and bones, and promotes overall better health.
- Happier according to research when we spend time in nature our mood improves. Children that spent time in nature are more likely to appreciate nature when they grow up.
- Increases Attention Spans. Playing outdoor games can improve their attention span, concentration, focus, reasoning skills. According to the study of children diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) that spent significant time outdoors exhibited fewer symptoms.
- Improve Sensory Skills. Science studies showed that kids who play outdoors regularly have better vision compared to children who are spending most of the time indoors. Younger children learn through their senses.
- Improves Social and Communication Skills. Kids that are outdoors with other kids learn how to interact effectively with others. This can be especially important for kids that are usually not around kids their age, being with other kids such as park playground are will encourage them to get out of their shall make new friends, take turns, share toys.
Ideas to encourage kids to enjoy outdoors:
- Make it fun. Have kids play treasure hunt. For example, in a fall when we go to the park, I will tell them to collect different shapes/colors of leaves. Sometimes we do some arts and crafts with leaves they collect. I have some ideas on my Pinterest account if you would like to check them out. Leave Arts and crafts Ideas
- Tell them it’s okay to get wet, dirty, and messy.
- Organize an outdoor play. We often invite cousins/friends to join us when we go to the park.
- If I know there is sand in the park, we are visiting I bring their toy’s for sand.
- Go for a walk, or bike rides in natural.
- Have a picnic at a playground or park. My children love having a picnic in the park.
- Explore new parks in your area.
- Bring balls, sidewalk chalk, bubbles to blow, kite to fly.
Ways to Have Fun Outdoors as a Family
Try something from the list this weekend!
- Family walk or ride on your bike, skateboard or scooters
- Throw a frisbee
- Visit your local National Park
- Explore with Magnifying glasses.
- Play in the sand and water table
- Making mud pies and playing restaurant
- Go fishing
- Scramble up the hill and roll back down.
- Jump on the trampoline
- Throw or kick a ball around
- Collect sticks, rocks and build something with them
- Run through the sprinkler
- Draw with sidewalk chalk
- Read stories outside under the trees
- Blow bubbles
- Horse riding
- Visit your local petting zoo
Outdoor Winter Activities
- Make snow angels
- it does not have to be just a snowman, you can make a cat, dog, a cake, etc.
- Build snow forts and their variations such as mazes
- Make ice art
- Feed the Birds
- have kids make string cranberries, popcorn, and cereal onto the fishing line for a garland to attract and nourish your feathered friends.
- Wintertime scavenger hunt
- Snowball-throwing contest
- Create a maze
- Paint the snow
- with a spray bottle, water, and food dye
“Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.” by Maria Montessori
What is your favorite outdoor activity and why?