Saturday, May 23, 2009

Outdoor play is important for kids

Brookster would live outside if I let her. When Momfluence gave us the chance to review outdoor toys we jumped at the chance. We got to review the Supersoaker. Brookster turned it into a watering gun by watering the outside flowers with it, she put water in the cats bowl and chased away bugs with it. I think this was the great because she used her imagination. I have noticed with some of friends that they do not that great of imagination. I have also noticed that those few friends do not like to play outside. They would rather be inside playing video games then be outside. I am not a psychologist so I can not say for sure that their is a correlation between imagination and outside play but I think it plays a part for Brookster.

According to Familyfun.go "statistics show that children ages 3 to 12 spend just 1 1/2 percent of their free time (about 30 minutes each week) in unstructured outdoor play." That seems like such a low number considering that research has shown that outside play leads to a number of health benefits both physical and mental. Kids learn to build forts, swing, slide down slides, climb. I will never forget the first time that Brookster was able to climb to the top of the slide by herself. She smiled the biggest smile that I have ever seen and thought she had climbed the tallest mountain. Ex cerise is important for kids and they get plenty of it by playing outside. If you are wondering what kinds of toys are good for your child to play outside with you can check out Time to Play Magazine. They review products and give opinions about them. It is a great site to find out different opinions about toys.

If you child has been playing outside and you would like for them to play more here are a few ideas from Family Fun:

Go Slowly- Alene Archer of the National Wildlife Federation's education department recommends that kids get one "green hour" -- unstructured play in a green outdoor space -- each day. But, she says, "you can start smaller, with even ten or fifteen minutes a day." Try scheduling some of that time after school and before homework, says Kuo; it just might help your child work more productively.

Try a monthly nature excursion-Periodically expand the boundaries of family outings by exploring areas "where you're surrounded 360 degrees by nature," says Lizette Castano, executive director of the Children's Nature Institute ( "Find a place that's exciting, where there are things to see -- an autumn forest, a pond filled with aquatic insects," says Joseph Cornell, author of the "Sharing Nature With Children" books and founder of the Sharing Nature Foundation ( Consider combining nature watching with other activities, such as canoeing, cross-country skiing, or camping. If proximity to nature is a concern, don't worry. Richard Louv suggests beginning with "nearby nature -- a clump of trees at the end of a cul-de-sac, a ravine behind your house, or even your backyard, if you leave a part of it unmanicured."

Cultivate Curiosity -Kids are more likely to get excited about nature "when they're captivated by a sense of mystery," says Cornell. Fortunately, the natural world is full of mysteries that parents and kids can try to unravel together: Where did that seedpod come from? Whose tracks are those? "Ask open-ended questions so kids can start wondering," says Castano. That sense of wonder in nature that you kindle today can benefit your child for years to come.

Appeal to the senses- Help your kids focus on all the sensory experiences they can have with nature," suggests Castano. "Ask them to smell the plants, stick their hands in the soil to see how it feels." Try playing a game that Cornell calls Still Hunting: Find a spot and stay very still as nature returns to its normal routine all around you. What do you hear? A chipmunk tunneling through leaves? What do you see? Grass waving in the breeze? "Nature is always inspiring," says Cornell, "and it's only our restless minds that keep us from being joyfully aware of this."

It is never to late for kids to play outside. Maybe you have kids like mine that you have to make come in. I have learned by doing research for this article that playing outside is really good for kids and maybe I should let her play outside more than I do. Even though she does play out at least 1 to 2 hours a day all total. I did enjoy finding out that one of my parenting skills is right on the money by letting her play outside. Now my other parenting skills will have to be talked about in another post because no one is perfect and I have a lot of flaws. Parenting is a lot about learning and moving forward. Most importantly parenting is about loving our kids. Sometimes things get so busy for us that I forget something very important and need to be reminded. Enjoy the time I have with Brookster because she will not be little long and there will come a time that she does not want to play with me. (mommy crying now) Now go have some fun with your kids.


  1. Glad I visited your blog.. Outdoors is vital to our children's health and happiness. Both of my daughters play tennis and my golfing husband is dying to get them on the links... I think there is a lot of "outdoor play" in my kids future.

  2. I am so happy my kids love to play outdoors and have a great imagination...

  3. Greetings Jana,

    Love your post here. And thanks for informing us about 'Momfluence'....I thought they only had try out toys for babies and toddlers, which my 3 and 5 year old are not any longer. So thanks for sharing this. I'm gonna go check them out!

    Thanks for following me! I'ma followin' you too now! Nice to meet you,

    Your new friend,
    Sarah Cecilia

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