Looking for Ways to Support your Child's Learning through Everyday Life Ideas that you can try during your regular activities – cooking, eating, playing, and exploring! -Let your child help with a big job. -Enjoy cooking together. -Play with your child to support her approach to learning. -Support language development during everyday interactions. -Add a little math to your conversations. -Bond as you read together. -Stay active. -Explore the outdoors as you hunt for pinecones or jump into a big leaf pile! -Sing together! -Make a book about your experiences together.
Why Getting Outside Matters! The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends that children have a minimum of one hour of unstructured free play every day, and stresses the importance of physical activity.
However, a 2014 study found that kids and teens in the United States spend an average of 6-8 hours a day doing sedentary activities, such as watching television.
Outdoor play is crucial for both physical and emotional well-belling in children, and even one hour a day can have a lasting impact!
Fosters an Active Lifestyle — Habits learned in childhood are often those that are carried on into adulthood. Active children are more likely to become active adults!
Develops Gross Motor Skills — Running, jumping, climbing, and other aspects of outdoor play help kids develop gross motor abilities naturally. The more kids play, the more coordinated and strong they’ll become!
Builds Hand-Eye Coordination — Outdoor play also helps kids fine-tune smaller movements that help with tasks like writing, drawing, playing sports, and more!
Spatial Awareness — Learning about the space one’s body takes up is such an important skill, and there is no better way for kids to figure it out than through play.
Emotional Benefits of Outdoor Play
Provides a Calming Effect — There is extensive research showing that exposure to nature and being outdoors lowers stress and increases emotional well-being in both children and adults. Life can be stressful for kids and time spent outdoors can help provide balance.
Encourages Imagination — Unlike video games or television, where the story is dictated to a child, with outdoor play the child is in charge. Kids don’t need elaborate setups to have a good time.
Grows Independence — So much of children’s lives are dictated TO them, from what to eat and what time to go to bed. However, in order for kids to learn the skills necessary to become self-sufficient adults, they need a safe space to practice making their own decisions. Unstructured outdoor play is the perfect way for kids to be the boss for a change!
Builds Social Skills — One of the benefits of outdoor play for preschoolers, in particular, is developing social skills. Children at this age are often just beginning to learn about how to interact with others and what is socially appropriate behavior. Outdoor play provides the opportunity to practice skills like taking turns, sharing, and teamwork in an enjoyable setting.