The Importance of Outdoor Play
Ceramic berry colander $14.99 | Indoor/Outdoor cushions (made from recycled water bottles) $69.99 & $79.99 (currently on sale for additional 30% off instore)
With summer around the corner, I thought it would be nice to chat about some fun outdoor play ideas with the kids! Summer can be a tricky time for parents, as many of us are juggling work and striving to grasp some kind of routine for our children while they have the summer off. In a perfect world, the kids would be begging to play outside rather than sit on their screens in the house.
But this day and age, that isn’t always the case, is it? Tablets and phones can be a great tool to entertain our littles when we need to get things done. But they are just so darn addictive and damaging to their underdeveloped minds. I don’t know about you, but this is definitely something we struggle with in our household.
Ceramic colander $14.99 | Strawberries $5.00
My husband and I have both tried our hardest to foster an appreciation for nature in our kids. And I think we’ve done a pretty good job of it; they do love to spend time outside. But, like most kids, asking for a show or to play some video games is usually one of the first ideas they come up with when given the choice of what to do. That’s why we’re trying our hardest to make our yard the most appealing place to be.
Outdoor play is crucial for our children’s development. When kids engage in unstructured play outside, they have the freedom to use their imagination, problem-solving skills, and creativity. This helps in developing their cognitive abilities and fostering a sense of independence.
Recently, the ‘1000 Hours Outside’ Challenge has gained popularity in encouraging parents to prioritize outside play for their children. The challenge prompts families to spend at least 1000 hours outside in a year. This may seem like a daunting task, but when broken down, it translates to just a little over 2.5 hours per day. By participating in this challenge, parents can set a goal and track their progress, ensuring that their children spend ample time engaging in outdoor activities.
Outdoor snail pot $79.99 (currently on sale for additional 40% off) | 4" herbs $2.99
Whether or not you choose to participate in the challenge, their website can be used as an excellent resource for outdoor play activities & ideas. (And, yes, I see the irony in using the internet to get kids off the internet. Lol). They give ample outdoor play ideas for each month of the year, there is a curriculum that can be used if anyone chooses this as an educational resource, and they have a list of books for each month as well. It really is a wonderfully captivating movement. If you’re looking for ideas on how to get your family outside more this summer, here are their July & August suggestions.
We send the kids outside to play all the time, and they do love it. But once in a while I like to set up some out of the ordinary activities to keep the excitement alive. This is especially helpful when kids struggle to play independently. Remember, playing is a skill that takes practice. So, if your little ones are having difficulty, don’t worry too much. They may just need a little guidance and encouragement. I’ve noticed that by joining them for a few minutes initially, they become fully engaged and are then content to continue playing on their own.
Some of our favourite activities to keep the kids busy independently are rock painting, slime/bubble stations at the mud kitchen, water balloon/gun fights, toy/car wash station, and nature scavenger hunts. When I make the effort to set up one of these activities outside, it always leads to the kids playing together and usually they end up creating some kind of spin off game from it which extends the playtime even further!
I’ve rounded up a list of fun family activities happening at local spots this summer. While I’m sure there are plenty more options out there, here is a little guide to get you anticipating some of the fun that is to be had this summer!
- Head to Ojibway Park and hand feed the birds.
- Amherstburg Open Air weekends – every Friday to Sunday (free yoga, live music, etc.)
- Essex Fun Fest – July 6 – 9th
- Leamington Ribfest – July 21-23 (food & drink vendors, live entertainment, KidZone.)
- Harrow Fair – Aug 31-Sept 3
- Spend a day at the Beach! (Cedar Beach, Colchester Beach and Seacliff Beach are our favourites)
- Surf, paddle board or kayak at Urban Surf Co.
- Feed the geese at Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary
- Stroll the marsh and play on the beach at Point Pelee.
- Hit the trails at Cedar Beach conservation Area or Kopegaron Woods
- Travel back in time at John R Park Homestead
- Bike or walk the Greenway trail.
- Boat to Peche Island for a picnic and take in the beauty.
Here’s to a summer spent outside & barefoot in the lush grass. A summer filled with the simple pleasures of cold popsicles on a hot day, bonfires with dear friends, and simply getting lost in the wonders bestowed upon us by Mother Earth.