We are blogging from Austin where we gratefully have a break from the Chicago cold and are seeing a lot of families outside taking in some play time. (We love all the Kolcraft, Jeep and Contours strollers we are seeing in Austin! They are everywhere!) It made us stop and think about how important play is for children. Remember our friends at NWF who did a study on the importance of outdoor play? Turning off the TV and video games and playing outdoors has so many benefits for your child. It may be difficult to pull them away from the lure of electronics so a few ideas to help.
- Start a garden – Starting a simple garden, be that in a planter or in the yard, is a great way to get your child outdoors and spend special one-on-one time with each other. Together you can plant flowers or vegetables and watch them grow. It also teaches your child responsibility since a garden needs daily care of weeding, watering, etc. It can also be a time to help your child’s science classes become alive.
- Take a neighborhood walk – Walk to different parts of your neighborhood and observe the birds and other animals. See if you can identify birds by their different chirps. Take note of the different trees and flowers you see as well as the cloud shapes. Nature is your canvas to learning!
- Become a stargazer – Get a blanket and gaze up at stars. Get a guidebook on stars from your library or download Google sky. Make a game of seeing how many stars you can find!
- Childhood games – Remember Mother May I, Red Rover, Kick the Can, Red Light Green Light, Hopscotch, blowing bubbles? Teach your child your favorite childhood games, get them moving and share a part of your childhood fun with them.
- Hit the beach – Spend a day at the beach looking for unusual rocks, shells, etc. See which ones you can identify and those you cannot, use your imagination and give them a name! If you don’t live near a body of water, go to a public pool and pretend that you are sea creatures – dolphins, crabs, sharks, etc. You can make your own underworld fun!
What are your ideas for getting your kids outside to play?