Keep the kids Outside! October 09, 2015 12:26

Summer is over, the leaves are turning color, and the kids are back in school.  With the days getting shorter, there is a lot less opportunity for the kids to play outside.  Numerous studies have shown that time outdoors in a natural setting is critical in developing a child's creativity and self-confidence.  Here are some tips to encourage outdoor activities on a year-round basis.

  • Don't be deterred by marginal weather.  While there may be a few days of really bad weather that justifies calling off the outdoor play, kids can usually be bundled up and sent out to play without risking life and limb.  Kids can be remarkably indifferent to discomfort when they are doing something interesting.
  • Supply the kids with activities that make outdoor exploration interesting.  For example, kids love to collect leaves, rocks, and bugs, so supply them with tools to collect, examine and display these treasures.
  • Incorporate outdoor activities in your children's learning routine.  If your child goes to school, get involved to see if your school has any kind of outdoor education, conservation or gardening built into the curriculum.  If your child is preschool or home-schooled, build unit studies around outdoor themes.
  • Don't limit your whole family involvement with the outdoors to just a 2-week summer vacation to the beach or mountains.  Every season brings new opportunities for exploring the natural world, and your child's innate interest in nature will be encouraged by adult involvement.  Most local and national parks are open year round and the crowds will be gone during the off-season.