The world is constantly changing. Everything, from our mode of dressing, speaking, communicating with each other and even interacting socially, has been affected by that change. The modern-day child is a product of that change, and why that is not necessarily a bad thing, a few things have to be corrected still. As parents, our children are the number one priority. Everything we do is geared towards making sure they grow up to be happy, successful, well-adjusted adults. A lot of us can attest to the fact that, several decades ago, one never would have thought a time would come when parents would need to be informed about the benefits of making their kids go outside to engage in outdoor play.
We live in the jet age and technology is now capable of upper body strength and things that never would have been thought possible by our great grandfathers, back in their day. One of those technological improvements is a part of the reason why today's kids do not go outdoors to play. These days, children, when they are not stationed in front of the TV or playing video games and using their phones, usually have the rest of their time, allocated to various afterschool activities that leave little to no time for outdoor play. This occurrence has become a source of concern for doctors and those in the education system who have begun to notice the link between this occurrence and the hampered cognitive development that is characteristic of a number children these days.
In truth, their heavily planned activity schedules usually involve activities that do not encourage the development of problem-solving skills and creativity. In addition, we now see more children suffering from obesity and poor muscle development amongst others.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), it is essential for every child to play often as it plays a vital part in things such as physical development, cognitive development, social development as well as overall emotional growth and well-being. Furthermore, the American Academy of Pediatrics noted the influence of the new age style of raising children which is fast-paced and full of pressure and doesn't encourage time for play.
The thing is, a lot of us have been swept into this new way of life unknowingly, however, it is our prayer that after reading the number of educational articles out there, outlining this issue, we all will reevaluate this lifestyle and realise just how important it is for everyone, especially the child to have enough time to play. Some tips on how this can be achieved are outlined below, but in truth, just as we did when we were little, I am certain that once the child is introduced to the outdoors, he or she will come up with fun activities of their own.
1.) A good number of us live in private houses which have sufficient backyard space. You can install a good, safe playground for your child, which will encourage him or her to play outside more.
2.) Many of us have children who have shown an affinity for outdoor exploration. Let them explore, within stated limits of course, and then, give them space somewhere like on the porch, so they are able to showcase some of the treasures they bring back with them from nature.
3.) It should not come as a surprise to us that kids enjoy using tools. Provide your kid with tools like trowels, magnifiers, all geared towards aiding his or her exploration outside.
4.) It is a good practice to take our children out for nature experiences in parks or other places designated for such activity. When you go out on such activities, let the child make the decisions as to which trail to take. While it is necessary for you to stay close for safety reasons, do not offer assistance until you are asked.
5.) Many of us have cars, and while that is good, every now and then, it is also good to abandon the vehicle at home and take a short or even long walk to where you need to go, with your child.
6.) Be sensitive to your child’s interests. If there’s a particular landmark your child always comments about, then it would be a good idea to learn more about the landmark, and even visit with your child.
7.) Activities like taking your kids fishing or canoeing are also encouraged.
8.) While playing outside, you can pluck off some leaves from different trees, while making sure your child doesn’t see. Afterwards, you can give these leaves to the child and ask him or her to locate the trees the leaves belong to.
9.) If there are a lot of trees in your area, you can create a book with the names of the trees and pictures as well, so your child can know them.
10.) When the leaves fall off the trees, instead of raking them immediately, you can leave them there for some time, so that the children can play and run around in them.
11.) When you rake up the leaves, you can make a big pile and then call on the children to smash it down. For older kids, you can allow them to rake it back up and repeat the activity if they wish.
12.) For those of us with appropriate locations, the children can be allowed to set up a backyard campfire. Rules have to be set to ensure safety, and you can watch from the window to ensure they are followed but don’t interfere.
13.) You can install bird feeders in your yard that can easily be spotted from windows and the children can assist with feeding the birds. Also, to make things more fun for them, you can provide a bird book to enable the kids to identify the different birds they see.
14.) You can do a special version of the “survivor” show and add a reward for the winner.