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Outdoor play’s the way!

March. For some, that means March break. For many kids, it means “MARCH BREAK!”

In this month’s e-newsletter, we presented several ideas for indoor activities that kids can do on their own or with some supervision. But, especially with the warming weather, this week offers an opportunity to get outside and offset some of the prolonged hours of sitting most kids have to tolerate in school.

Outdoor Play Canada released a Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play in 2018. This statement was developed by a collective of individuals from almost 20 children-, nature-, and health-oriented organizations that sought to synthesize the evidence on the benefits to children of playing outside. The position paper presents evidence that children who play outdoors are healthier, more creative, more resilient, and develop better risk-assessment abilities, and that, despite there being some risk to outdoor play, it is statistically safer than indoor play. Interestingly, they also present that too much adult oversight during outdoor play can reduce some of these benefits. At only 2 pages, the Position is a quick and informative read!

We also have a few ideas about outdoor activities:

  • The Big Book of Nature Activities by local naturalists and outdoor educators, Jacob Rodenberg and Drew Monkman, offers hundreds of seasonal things for kids to explore outdoors.
  • Pick up some high-quality black oil sunflower seeds then spend some time trying to hand-feed the local chickadees and nuthatches.
  • The Little Book of Backyard Bird Songs and The Little Book of Woodland Bird Songs offer a fun way for kids get to know the birds in their outdoor play space.
  • Pick up a bird house kit, then share the experience of building it and setting it up outdoors.
  • Mid-March might be a little too early for it, but our Junior Bug Collecting Kit is a great way get to know the little critters 
  • in their outdoor play areas. Although there may not be a lot of insects out and about yet, there’s a good chance of spotting snow fleas (which aren’t fleas at all, but a type of springtail) on warm, sunny days at this time of year.

Check out this Garden Gate episode with Jacob Rodenberg for some reasons for, and ways to, get kids outdoors to enjoy more “Vitamin N(ature).”

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