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Get outside! Carnival Posts (Part 5)


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.
« Book Review: Playful Parenting (by Lawrence J. Cohen) | Main | Carnival of Play Extended to April 20 »

Reader Comments (8)

Unstructured play is essential to child development, I think. Overprotection gets in the way of playing outside, but parents' attitude about the weather makes a difference too. I'm not fond of the cold, which makes it harder for me to convince the kids to go out in the winter. My wife hates the heat, so summer isn't her favourite tome to be outside. We both have to swallow those feelings, at least sometimes, and go out with the kids so they'll want to play outside later.

April 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFamily Anatomy

I totally agree. Most kids these days spend all their time indoors playing video games or watching tv it seems. Some of my most treasured memories are exploring the woods behind our house, walking to school, and just being out and about with my neighborhood friends until I was called in for dinner time. I know in this day and age it can be a bit scary to let your children roam off by themselves but like you said, you can always prepare to spend time with them outdoors. Judging from how much my neighborhood has changed that's not something that a lot of parents do these days unfortunately, but should certainly consider.

April 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdetroitmommy

I love the saying, "There's no bad weather, only bad clothing." Getting outside with kids is so important, and in my neck of the woods if we stayed indoors every time it rained that would be a lot of indoor time.

Although I will admit that as an adult I don't actually enjoy being out in the wet weather. But it's not always about me, right?

April 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

I wrote an article on activities to do in the rain ... http://halifax.savvysource.com/cityguide/ca_10030_9_0_head-outside-in-the-rain

We live by the ocean and get a lot of rainy days, we try not to let that slow us down. Besides afterward we head in have some hot chocolate, a warm bath and tons of snuggles and stories!

April 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterchelle

It's funny that you mentioned being outside, since that's where we were today! :) I am writing the post you suggested right now, and I'll send it to you when I'm done.

April 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTara @ Feels like home
April 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLoukia

This is such a great post! I think right here you have summed up every parenting philosophy Donald and I have about once-the-baby-is-born. We literally bought our house in a neighborhood where we knew we'd feel safe throwing the kids outside, rain or shine, because COME ON, why do we never see kids playing outside anymore? I think I grew up outside!

So well done and thank you =)

[...] Get outside! Carnival Posts (Part 5): Information on the importance of outdoor play for kids and links to posts on outdoor play in good weather and in the rain. [...]

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