Playing outside is an important part of our program. We want kids to learn to love nature and take care of so we need to get them out there and to be comfortable in it.
The benefits of playing outside are many!
-Kids learn to appreciate nature and develop a respect for it.
-Kids learn about bugs and that they are really not so scary! We dig for worms, hold lady bugs, look for ants and other crawly things. (I want kids to understand they do not need to step on every insect they see.) We talk about how bugs and insects help us; that bees pollinate trees and plants in the garden, worms help the soil drain, and spiders eat mosquitoes!!
-Kids who spend time outside in nature are more relaxed. There have been studies done that show kids diagnosed with ADHD showed fewer symptoms after playing outside in nature.
-Kids develop their large muscles through running, jumping, hopping, balancing, etc. …and do they ever get rid of a lot of energy running through all that snow!
-Kids develop their small muscles through digging in sand and snow, planting seeds, picking leaves and flowers, and making delicacies like snow muffins.
-Kids develop thinking skills (cognitive skills) through observing and discussing topics such as the changing seasons, tending to the seeds we have planted, watching the water in the sand box, and moving the loose parts such as wood to create something from their imaginations. They learn where some of our food comes from and watch it grow from seed to vegetable. From there we get to cook with it and get to eat what we grow. They develop their problem solving skills through looking for solutions and answers to questions and problems they encounter.
-Kids develop language by talking about everything they see and hear. We have some great discussions about what is happening around them. They also begin to notice the world around them. The kids can hear the train horns, geese honking overhead, the helicopters flying by, and the squirrels chattering at us.
-Kids creativity is developed through coming up with all those ideas of things to build and new games to play!
-Kids develop social skills through cooperation and working together on different ideas and playing different games.
We often take the inside out. We read books on a blanket under the trees or have a picnic snack. We also love to paint while being inspired by the colours or textures we are surrounded by. Science ideas are all around us, all we have to do is look!
There is nothing as good as hearing the giggles and laughter of kids playing outside!