Getting kids outside, especially in unfavourable weather, can be a real struggle. However, RECEs across Canada agree that outdoor play is essential to children’s growth and development. Here are some tips to make going outside fun and worthwhile.
Work it into your routine. Make going outside for at least 20-30 minutes part of your daily life. There is no substitute for the gross motor play your child can experience outside. It will also encourage your child to be more active and physically fit as they grow older.
Have an adventure. Go for a walk and find different things in your neighborhood. Walk to a park you usually don’t visit or even write up your own scavenger hunt for things to find on your walk. The items you collect can turn into a great art activity.
Become a farmer or gardener. Planting seeds, caring for them and watching them grow is a fun way to spend some time outside and is a great learning activity. Children are able to learn about being responsible and feel proud for what they have accomplished.
Bring the indoors outside. Take indoor activities like arts & crafts or toys like blocks, dolls, cars and trucks outside. These toys gain renewed interest as they interact with nature, creating new possibilities for fun. Just be sure to do a thorough clean up afterwards to make sure nothing gets left behind.
Don’t be afraid to get wet or messy. Bring buckets of water outside, make muddy pies, find puddles to jump and dig worms out of the dirt. Getting dirty is fun for kids. Give them special messy clothes that they can roll around in let them jump through a sprinkler to clean off before heading back inside.
Thanks to Candy Anderberg from Jolly Giant Childcare Ltd. in BC for sharing her ideas with Together Families.com Candy has been a Registered Early Childhood Educator for 14 years.