“Children need PLAY like plants need water and light” (Power et al., 2021).
While the global pandemic is still in play around us, the school year began again. Many may have experienced going forward in the unknown. Yet, many children have lost or missed the critical skills that can be gained from outdoor experiences. Outdoor play is critical for children and is still important even in the pandemic. Keeping distance from others while having fun and being wild outdoors is the key.
Benefits of Outdoor Play
Power et al states through outdoor play, children build “social connections, make sense of the world, express emotion, release pent-up energy, move their bodies, and tap into their imagination.” All these key areas are learned and mean different from indoor play. Many children have been exposed to screens during the last long couple of months. Some had online learning, breaks, or online gaming. We all know doing activities or exercise online is different from doing things outdoors. “Large body of research evidence shows that active outdoor play has benefits for child health, wellbeing, development, and educational attainment,” said Reilly, J. & Tremblay, S. (2021).
How to get back to Outdoor Play – Rewild Children
To rewild children, it is best to go out. Start by visiting a close park or even a plain field with some natural objects. When going out, try going out off-peak hours to avoid the crowd. Also, try bringing some cones or tarp to set up stations for your zone. When children are ready to go further do some hiking or on rainy days jump on some puddles. Getting those physical movements outdoors with fresh air is the key. Children can also put their imagination gear on. It is free and never out of stock. Try going for a scavenger hunt or building a fort in the forest with the family. This will encourage so much physical literacy, imagination, and a healthy lifestyle. It will also spark many conversations and stories to share and discuss which will enrich the mood, energy, and relationships.
Have fun outside!!
Reilly, J. J., & Tremblay, M. S. (2021). Rewild Your Kid: Why Playing Outside Should be a Post-Pandemic Priority. The Conversation. Retrieved August 4, 2021, from https://theconversation.com/rewild-your-kids-why-playing-outside-should-be-a-post-pandemic-priority-156077
Power, M., Lannoy, L., Brussoni, M. & Tremblay, M. Pandemic Play: Child-Centered Policy in a Global Crisis. Outdoor Play Canada. Retrieved August 4, 2021, from https://www.outdoorplaycanada.ca/pandemic-play-child-centred-policy-in-a-global-crisis/