Come play outside

Come play outside!

According to studies, children under the age of 6 spend around 75% of their waking time in sedentary activities (eg television, screen, stroller). However, all early childhood specialists will tell you, children learn by moving. Our priority should be to get children more active so that they can benefit from their health and promote their development. To move freely, children need space and the ideal place to move is outside. The benefits of playing outside Outdoor games bring a large number of benefits. This is why, from an early age, it is important to bring children to play outside, in places where they can get dirty, climb, explore and walk on various surfaces. Outdoor games offer various opportunities for children to develop a multitude of skills. For example, the child who climbs on a structure in the park will learn to manage risk taking. Some children will climb to the highest peak they can reach with great pride, and others will turn back after a few steps. Everyone goes at their own pace and does their own learning. Outside, children need an adult, an educator who guides them, encourages them and gives them the freedom to explore. During outdoor games, the youngest will develop their balance by walking on paths where the rocks and the roots of the trees will cause them to focus on standing and advancing at their own pace. During a walk outside, a child whose boot gets stuck will learn to solve problems alone. Outdoor games are also the perfect place to get dirty while having fun! Remember the moments of happiness you had in making soups of ingredients from nature, jumping, feet together in puddles, running for swallow the snowflakes and slip into the mud after a downpour. Playing outside is fun for children and while moving, children experience while developing. In addition, by initiating children early in outdoor games, not only will they benefit, but they will make it a habit for life. Where to go to play outside? In order for children to enjoy the benefits of outdoor games, it is interesting to vary the places to explore. First, there is the traditional neighborhood park or the daycare courtyard, where children can find safe play structures with various coverings designed to absorb falls. In these places, children can climb, have fun and develop their motor skills, but also their social skills, when they have, for example, to negotiate who will be the first to use the swing. Another interesting place to explore with children is the forest or a park with walking trails. There may even be a community garden near you, where children can enjoy exploring the trails and observing flowers and other plants throughout the seasons. Ideally, we let the children guide us in their explorations. For example, we let them choose the path to explore. The children will make interesting discoveries and perhaps collect rocks, leaves and branches. During these excursions, a backpack, filled with snacks and water bottles, will be an essential tool. Of course, it is the adult's role to ensure that the paths taken are at appropriate distances so that the challenge offered to children is adapted to their needs. physical abilities. You will be amazed to see the children walking more and more distances, the more they will be used to it, but above all to see their pride in having achieved this challenge, by looking at the map or by returning to the starting point. Do not hesitate to go to fields or large spaces where children can run, jump and shout at will. These places allow children great freedom of movement, which leads them to develop their motor skills and let off steam. Rain or shine, a run in the fields allows children to experience a variety of sensations, the wind in their hair, the rain falling on them and the grasses rubbing on their pants. Children learn by experiencing its sensations and movement leads them to have a lot of fun. Tips for having fun during outdoor games
  • Choose the right clothes: To have fun outside, children must be well dressed. Their clothes must be adapted to the temperature, because ideally, we want to be able to play outside in good weather, bad weather. It is important that the clothes chosen allow them to have freedom of movement and that they are comfortable. In addition, it is necessary to plan that the children will get dirty and wet, it is one of the pleasures of playing outside, it is therefore necessary to provide a change of clothes.
  • Suggest different activities: Sometimes, some children are less tempted by outdoor games. To get them to come outside, we can offer them activities they usually like to do indoors. For example, you can draw outside by sticking sheets of paper on a table. If a child prefers painting, you can bring gouache outside and go looking for rocks in the yard or in the wood and then decorate them. Quietly, by bringing the child outside with activities he likes, he will move around in nature and develop his preferences.
  • Bring inspiring material: During outdoor games, do not hesitate to bring equipment likely to interest or inspire children. The traditional buckets and shovels are still popular. You can also offer boxes, nets to catch butterflies or other creatures, books, scarves of fabrics that they can fly in the wind. The strategy is to bring captivating material for the children and during their games, they will be inspired by nature and go on an adventure.
  • Move with children: You are role models for the children around you. Set an example by moving and activating. Remembering the importance of moving and going outside to get fresh air has an important impact on making children want to play outside.
  • Rain or shine, we go outside: It is interesting to go outside in different weather conditions. Children will experience different sensations depending on the season and the weather outside. What a pleasure to go play in the rain or drop in the snow.
The benefits of outdoor play are many. Indeed, playing outside helps to ensure good physical health, but also has effects on the immune system of children and promotes sleep. These are good reasons to go play outside. To go a little further: Ferland, F. (2012). Come play outside: for fun and health. Montreal: Editions du CHU Ste-Justine.

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