"Brrrr" "It's too cold!"
"I don't want to play outside!"
"I want to stay in where it's warm!"
"I have so much to do inside... Maybe we'll go out later when it warms up."
"Lets build a snowman!"
"I can't wait to run!"
"The wind in my face!"
"I get to wear my favorite Spiderman gloves!"
"I want to ride my bike!"
"I want to swing!"
"I want to dig!"
"I want to play tag!"
How many times do we as adults hinder children's Growth and Development because WE don't want to go outside? Probably more times then we'd like to admit!
Outside play time is vital for child development! Even in the cooler temperatures!
Next time you are thinking about staying inside I want you to think of these benefits children gain from playing outside!
1. Promotes Physical Health
With obesity rates on the rise it is no surprise this is one of the top benefits of outdoor play.
With increased obesity comes an increase in health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.
It is said that toddlers should have at least 30 minutes of adult-led physical activity and 60 minutes of child-led physical activity every day!
Outdoor play is a great way to meet this!
2. Outdoor Play Invites Science
Children are naturally curious!
Outside has science everywhere!
Children can learn through experimenting (Questions/inquiry, trial/error, cause/effect, vocabulary)
3. Social Interactions
Allows for one-on-one interactions
Problem solving skills
Risk-taking - safe risks that cannot be taken while inside
Encouragement - Encouraging a child to try something new outside, slide down the slide, climb the rock wall, Monkey bars, etc.
Empathy - comfort a child that fell and got hurt, lost a pet, missing parent, forgot their blanket at home, etc.
4. Promotes Better Sleep!
With the combination of physical activity, fresh air, natural light there is stress reduction. It is no wonder kids sleep better after a great outdoor play session!
Sand and water play
6. Brain Break!
Giving the brain a little break with free play will help them be more attentive and productive during those teacher-led activities!
7. Provides Opportunities Indoor Activities Cannot
Exploring The Natural World
8. Connects Them To The Real World
Birds looking for worms
Birds flying south
Rain and Mud
Sun, shade, wind
Below is the Child Care Weather Watch. This table lets everyone know when the weather is ok to be outside and when outside time should be limited or avoided.
This breaks it down one chart for cooler days and one for hotter days!
Please note just because it is yellow (caution) does not mean you cannot go out - it just means use caution (don't stay out as long, use appropriate clothing, use appropriate protection)
Children love the outdoors! All of the time you will spend getting them ready (hats, boots, snow pants, glove, etc) will be worth the benefits the children will receive from playing outside! Take the 20 minutes of getting ready time for the 10 minutes of play! You will NOT Regret it!
Don't keep children from vital development just because you don't want to be in the cold. Make sure you have the appropriate outdoor gear just as we ask parents to bring appropriate gear for their children.
"Happy kids are kids that play outside daily!"
Outdoor Play Ideas
Artist: Fill ice cube trays with colored water. Once frozen - take outside and build, paint, etc.
Build a Fort: Snow, sticks, leaves, branches.
Create Edible Trees for Animals: String popcorn, pinecones with honey and seeds or peanut butter and seeds, Dehydrated apples, pears, oranges, to hang, etc.
Dig for Frozen Treasures: Freeze small animals, cars, treasures... hide in snow, trees, or other places... have children hunt for them.
Snow Tag: Make a trail through the snow and have the kids play tag but they have to stay on the trail to run and catch each other.
Paint the snow: fill squirt bottles with tempera paint watered down and let the kids spray the snow.