Wednesday, April 15, 2009
In his great book Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv talks about saving our children from nature deficit disorder. Children are getting less time outdoors. This is having serious consequences for their physical and mental health, ranging from increased obesity, attention deficit disorder and depression. Our kids need sunlight. They need fresh air. They need to move. They need to touch the grass, feel the wind, jump in the leaves, and smell the flowers.
Open the doors
Open the doors and let your kids out. Get them out of the house.In my post on gentle sleep solutions, I mentioned how much better my kids sleep when they have spent hours upon hours outdoors. This is just one of the many benefits of getting out there with them.
- Space to Play: Andrea from a peek inside the fishbowl writes about her girls being the ones that are "always outside". Read her post to learn more about how she has created an outdoors family.
- The Great Outdoors: Loukia from Loulou's Views shares her thoughts on taking the play outside with her two boys and talks about some of the activities they love.
- Mucking About: Melodie from Breastfeeding Moms Unite took a pause from her usual content on breastfeeding to provide some great insight on the importance of imaginative play, being in nature, getting dirty and making memories from her perspective as a mom and licensed family child care provider.
If you're not comfortable having them play alone outside or if they are not old enough to do so unsupervised, then be prepared to go with them. The outdoor time can benefit you too! But at some point, we also need to question how much supervision is too much. I touched on this a bit in the post on unstructured play. One of the carnival participants wrote about it too:
- Is overprotection changing Play? Rebecca writes about our society's changing attitude towards what is "safe" for kids and questions her own assumptions and hesitations.
But what if it's raining?
At least some of the time, I think it is great to get kids outside in the rain. Let them jump in puddles, look for earth worms, and get wet. We recently went to a local festival with the kids in the rain and had a great time despite the not so nice weather outside. One of the posts submitted to the carnival is all about having fun while getting wet:
- Rain Activities: Preschool Patti shares some fun ideas for things to do with kids in the rain.
- Head outside in the rain: Chelle shares her ideas for heading outside in when it is wet in rainy Halifax on Being Savvy Halifax.
But being outside all the time when it is wet isn't fun either and if there is a long period of rain, kids can start to go stir crazy. One fun option is always arts and crafts or maybe board games.
Did you like these posts? If so, give them a Stumble, tweet about them, share them on your blog!
There is lots more to come! If I haven’t featured your post yet, thank you for posting it and it will be featured during the carnival. I am doing a few theme-based posts, so if your post fits into a theme that I have planned, I may have pegged it for a specific post.
If you haven't participated yet, it isn't too late! Get your post up by April 19th to have it included in the Carnival of Play and to have a chance to win the contest.