Take to the Outdoors

01
Mar
Posted by Sandra Smith in Parent, General

In this day and age when children have access to so many electronic devices; TV, Nintendo DS, ipad or smart phones - it is very easy for children to turn to electronics when they are looking for something to do. Having a sedentary lifestyle though can lead to obesity and it is becoming more of a concern every year. One way to help combat this is to open up your door and let the children outside.

Children need to be encouraged to be active and there is no better way for this than the outdoors. When outdoors, they run, jump, hop, slide, and yell. They enjoy the fresh air and learn about the environment. They explore and have adventures through unstructured play. As they learn what their bodies can do, they gain confidence and are more willing to try out other new things. How many times do you hear “Mom, mom, watch me” when children are outside? They are testing their bodies and their new skills and want to make sure you see and celebrate what they have mastered now.

Large muscle skills are developed while playing with balls, ride on toys, and swing sets. Children are able to see who can run the fastest or throw the ball the farthest and they can use their creativity to create new games to test out new skills that they are learning. Many of these activities are better when playing with friends and learning how to interact with other children is another great aspect of outdoor play. Learning to take turns and share while playing basketball or Frisbee is a healthy skill to learn.

Sandboxes and sand tables offer sensory experiences for children. Enjoying the feel of sand between their fingers and how it doesn’t taste so good in the mouth are both sensations that children will learn. They are able to dig and bury and build, and when water is added they can use the new texture to create other elements. Filling buckets and pails and using sand molds are great ways to develop their fine motor skills. Their creativity will be flowing once they have their hands in sand, from sand pies to castles their imagination will be able to take them on many sand adventures.

Let’s not forget that we need to lead by example and ensuring that our children have an active lifestyle outdoors is a fun part of being a parent. Taking hikes, going biking, exploring the park in your area are all terrific ways to spend an hour or two together.

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