5 Ways to Get YOUR Kids Outside Everyday!
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" The average American child is said to spend 4 to 7 minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors, and over 7 hours a day in front of a screen. "
As I type this blog post out, I am listening to birds in my yard. I am looking at bright colors and I smell the freshness of the outdoors. All of my senses are engaged as I sit here and look. If I reach out and touch leaves, rocks, bark...my fingers will feel a variety of materials.
“...my object is to show that the chief function of the child--his business in the world during the first six or seven years of his life--is to find out all he can, about whatever comes under his notice, by means of his five senses...”
― Charlotte Mason
Taking our children away from screens may not be what our children want, but it's what they need. Studies are showing anxiety and depression in children as young as 2! These statistics are alarming to me, and should be to all parents. In all honesty, I believe the anxiety and depression is far more reaching than to just children. Parents need to get outside too. I know, it's hard. We are all busy, but in our busyness we are hindering ourselves...schedule time to be outside. Even if you sit outdoors and watch as your children play. I have spots scattered throughout my property where I sit.
Sometimes, just sitting outside makes ME feel better. I really believe we were "made" to be outside.
5 Ways to encourage YOUR children to get outside
Give them tools. I wrote a whole blog post on nature resources. When children have tools to explore with outside, they are more excited to be out there and feel empowered or curious. Even as an adult, new tools motivate me :)
Start a collection. My son has collected rocks since he was 3. We have a huge collection displayed throughout our home. Ask your child if they want to start some sort of collection. There are so many options! Special sticks, rocks, leaves, dead bugs ( we don't kill them but often find dead ones), feathers, nuts or seeds etc...
Plant a garden. One idea is to give your child a small area to plant his own garden. Whether that is flowers or vegetation he/she will be so proud to have his "own" garden. My Kindergartner has an herb garden this summer, he loves to tend his garden and takes us over to look at it.
Give them something to do outside. We love sandbox play. Sand is perfect for imaginations AND outdoor play. I look for toys that bring us outside. Look around resale shops, I often find outdoor toys that people just don't want anymore. We have a large collection of outdoor toys, this week we are putting up a volleyball net to keep up until winter.
Treasure hunts. This really works! Give children a list of things to find. I have noticed children love scavenger hunts! Sometimes I just come up with a list off the top of my head like, "go find 5 different leaves and bring them back to me" or I say, "let's play eagle eye...pretend you are an eagle looking down at the grass and bring me 5 interesting things.." They love all those games.
I believe getting outside is more than just a cute idea, it is critical. Join us at Charlotte Mason Kindergarten as we promote outdoor life, nature study, and screen free childhoods.