Kids don’t play outside like they used to, and there are, unfortunately, many reasons for that. Among them include the many fun technological devices that kids can use to level up their skills and entertainment. Kids spend on average of 60 hours a week on devices, and just 60 minutes a week playing outside. So sad! It’s time to restore some balance to that equation. There is much critical enrichment for kids who get to enjoy the simple pleasure of playing outside. Below are a few photos of special outdoor play with my own boys, including a special treasure ‘chest’ collected a few years back. The memories were so positive and powerful, I haven’t been allowed to throw it away!
Why Should Kids Play Outside?
Being in nature encourages mindfulness and curiosity. Kid explorers develop the skill of “noticing” things in an environment that is constantly changing and full of rich detail. They get to enjoy fresh air, changes in temperature and natural light. They get to experience the richness of plant life, watch creepy crawly insects and experience the splash of puddles. Outdoor play is a sensory-rich experience. If your kids are doing the Montessori method of schooling? Even better.
Unstructured time lets kids learn how to entertain themselves. How many times have you heard your kids say, “I’m bored!”? Kids who play outside in an unstructured way find something to do next, they get to be creative and stimulate their imaginations. Free play also encourages spontaneity, reduces rigid thinking and promotes problem-solving. Plus, kids are happy when they play outdoors. Our kids have so much to gain when we say, “Go play outside!” As my readers know, this is a big habit for my family, and for the past few years we’ve sent the boys right to the trampoline to giggle and burn off energy.