Thursday, December 19, 2019

Get Out!

I go out for recess three times a day. Almost every single day. If it’s drizzly, we wear raincoats and rain boots. If it is cold, we bundle up, and perhaps we don’t stay out as long. When it is hot, we wear sunscreen and sun hats and bring iced water so kids can have lots of drinks. Would I do this if I didn’t work with children? Of course not.

Would my life be diminished? Absolutely.

Children need outdoor play like they need food and drink and rest and love. On days when we can’t get outside enough our students are miserable. They needs to run, climb, negotiate uneven surfaces, balance, ride trikes, scooters, push and pull things, crawl, hang, twist, spin, and dig in the sand and dirt. It is nutritional for them.

If you have kids in your life please make sure that you give them the gift of outdoor play during those times when they are not at school. It is far too easy to feel that you are too busy or that the weather is incompatible with going out. It almost never is. You just have to believe it’s the most important thing, and then live accordingly. 

Child-directed, large motor, outdoor play cannot be replaced by gymnastics classes, or soccer teams, or any of the myriad directed activities that children are scheduled into by well meaning parents. Like the expensive toys we buy to make our children happy, it’s almost always the empty box that sparks imagination and play. Outdoor play is that empty box that our children fill with their own ideas and meaning.

To bring this back to a HoCo local focus, where are the places in Columbia/HoCo that you enjoy exploring with your children outdoors? Parks? Playgrounds? Pathways? 

I could write another complete and detailed post about how crucial outdoor play is to the development of all those things that children will need for school success, but I’m not going to do that today. Today it is enough to say your children need this - - like breathing - - and you will enable them to be their better selves if you foster daily outdoor play in their lives.

It may change your life for the better, too. 


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