Tag Archives: playing outdoors

Put Away Those Reading Games

Yes, get the kids to put away those reading games and pull out their walking shoes. Spring is officially here 20th March on. As new life blooms in nature, it’s time to get out and enjoy the outdoors.

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Sakura tunnel by akaitori

Spring’s in the Air

After the miserable cold, spring is welcomed with open arms. This is celebrated across the world in many different ways. Some are new age celebrations, while others have a history of thousands of years. Vitamin-Nature is something which kids need massive doses off. As our lifestyle changes, lives are getting busy and kids as well as adults spend very little time outdoors. This is not a good sign for younger kids. Hit the park or the playground. Younger kids need to spend a lot of time in nature. This is crucial for their sensory development.

Getting a big dose of Vitamin-N

Kids need to run about with shoes and without. They need to jump, tumble, hop, skip and spin with abandon. This helps in their health and development.Movement is crucial in the developing years. Many of the problems associated with kids’ development and health, like childhood obesity and sensory processing disorders, can really be helped with large doses of nature. Interestingly in Washington DC, children are prescribed doses of spending time at the park! Yes, it’s called Park Rx and it’s a communtiy initiative.

Swinging by themselves – basic playground stuff

Many kids much beyond preschool do not know how to swing by themselves. Parents rarely give pumping on a swing any thought. It’s complicated and crucial to developing musculature and coordination. Once the child is confident to sit in a regular swing and they are ready to follow your direction to hold the chains tight, start them slow. Coach them to stretch their legs and fold it as the swing starts up. Before you know it, they’ll get into the rhythm of swinging, and you’ll see the kids jumping off in mid-air and 2-3 of them swing all at once on swing! Make sure they are careful around others swinging high.

Enormous benefits

The benefits from nature are enormous for the development of kids. This does not mean going and living in a forest with your family. It just means increasing association with natural environments. Apart from parks, families can start small gardens. Watching something grow can fascinate kids. Get a pet. Buy fresh ingredients to make a meal and involve the kids. Soon they might be involved in cooking a Thanksgiving meal!

Encourage them to enjoy the rain, wind, sun and the snow. Do some activities which involve nature – hapa zome, flower drying, planting seeds, vegetable printing or anything that interests the kids.

Winding Up

My parents have always told us stories about the simple things they played with – cartons, tins, pieces of wood, bottles, sticks, newspaper etc. With massive doses of imagination, they got really inventive with their playtime. From such open ended play to the high levels of structured play that kids get, the move has been rapid and not fully beneficial. It’s time for a prescription of Park Rx!

 

4 Activities for Spring

Here is Maya writing a post about spring activities.

Yes, I say it again – ditch the games to be played inside the house, spring is here. March 21st was the Spring Equinox. For humans the Sun plays an important role, without which we would have no food and therefore we would not exist. The equinoxes signify those days when we celebrate equal day and night. These dates hold cultural significance because they were tied in with our harvests. Even today the seasons are important and the sun’s role has not changed, but the celebrations have been toned down.

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Finding_Sweet_Leaves_5283 by James Emery

Spring brings warmth, color and happiness. Here are four activities for spring:

  • Homemade dough for playing

When kids are young, they like putting stuff in their mouths. If it is the store bought Playdoh, we worry about what goes into making it. It is simple and easy to make a dough for playing at home. In fact the making of the dough is one activity even as the dough can be used to make other stuff. One of my favorite recipes is making a herbal playdough. Apart from being a good way to explore materials and consistency, it it completely safe even if a child pops some into her mouth.

  • Spending time with real pets

Time to throw out the pet games and spend time with real pets. If you are considering the idea of getting a pet, this is a good time to get one home. In case you would rather spend time with animals, but would rather not bring any pets home just schedule a visit to a pet shelter. Kids can spend time with animals and parents need not have the responsibility. Exposure to animals is comforting to most kids. They learn empathy and a lot about sharing the planet with other creatures.

  • Learning to grow 

Spring is all about new life. It is a good time for kids to learn to grow stuff, be it in a pot or in the garden. If kids have gone fruit picking, this is a sort of complimentary activity. Kids can start little gardens in a pot or just a plastic tub if need be. Many schools introduce kids to growing stuff as a part of the gardening class. Growing things establishes a connect with nature.

  • Playing under the sun

Humans are designed to spend time outdoors. We get our fix of Vitamin D from sun exposure. This is not the hot afternoon sun we are talking of, but the sunlight during other parts of the day when it is comfortable. It is great for metabolism, getting out of bad moods, good health and growth. In fact we must encourage kids to play outdoors irrespective of the cold.

It’s spring! Come on, get out of the house with the kids. Play, walk and just enjoy a gentle meander around a green patch. Ready for more? Well kick a ball around, read under the warm sun, fix things in the yard, water your garden, grow your own herbs, play outside with your pet or just sit out and sun. Be careful and don’t burn. Feel the connect with nature!