It may be hot out. And there might be bugs, and yes, kids might fall and skin their knees, but playing outdoors in the summer is an essential part of not only childhood, but of education.
Not only does outdoor play help keep kids active and fight childhood obesity problems, it gives them a much needed opportunity to explore and discover their world. To adventure.To try new things.To get sweaty and muddy.
It’s not only good for their bodies—it can actually help them learn.
Research shows that unstructured, outdoor play is a great learning tool for kids as it lets them draw conclusions and formulate understandings that might lead them to have “A-ha!” moments, and it gives them time to add experience to text book learning. It also helps them develop confidence and learn to try new things, both of which pay off in the classroom.
And, for today’s generation of plugged-in kids, it gives them an opportunity to step away from the screens and de-digitize for long periods at a time, which for many parents and educators is very important, as studies have shown that today’s children can spend up to seven hours a day using technology.
The importance of outdoor play is gaining attention thanks to a British Report that recommends that kids create a summer “Bucket List” with back-to-basics outdoor activities.
Here are some of the activities to add to your family’s summer To-Do List:
- Fly a kite
- Learn how to skip a stone
- Make a Mud pie
- Dam a stream
- Bury someone in the sand – not their head, of course
- Climb a tree
- Plant something.
- Discover what’s in a pond
- Find your way with a compass
Make it a point to create your own bucket list this summer, or use this Checklist of Outdoor Challenges. Then get outside and have some fun!
Oxford Learning provides supplemental education services across North America. It offers programs for young people from preschool through university, and its cognitive approach goes beyond tutoring to ignite a lifelong love of learning. Find out more at http://www.OxfordLearning.com.