LET’S GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!
Open your door and you’ll find a natural learning environment where children can play, learn, and have fun! When you look back on your own childhood you’ll probably recall many good times playing outside in the summer. The more time children spend in front of a screen, the more they NEED to play outside for healthy development. There is a great book by Richard Louv called LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS: SAVING OUR CHILDREN FROM NATURE-DEFICIT DISORDER. Louv emphasizes the powerful effect that nature can have on children and argues that the outdoors is as essential to children’s health as good nutrition and plenty of sleep.
Here are a few ways that playing outside can contribute to a child’s total development:
Physically – large and small motor development, endurance, strength, coordination, health, body awareness
Emotionally – confidence, independence, self-image, stress release
Socially – cooperation, problem-solving, sharing, trust, friendships
Intellectually – sensory stimulation, creativity, language development, math concepts, curiosity about nature
You can’t beat just “being” outside and giving children time for “messing around” and using their imaginations. Being “bored” is O.K., but you can also engage children with some of the activities you’ll find on my website this month. You can use these with your own family or with scouts, Bible school, birthday parties, family reunions, and children of all ages.
P.S. Don’t forget all those great camp songs you can sing outside. Click for a free download of one of my kids’ favorites titled “The Beaver Call.”
The Beaver Call
Chorus: F-f-f, f-f-f, f-f-f-f-f-f-f.
(Extend arms and open and close fingers.
Put your top teeth over your bottom lip as you /f/.)
Beavers one, beavers all, (Cross right arm in front and then left arm.)
Do a little beaver call. (Chorus)
Beavers two, beavers three, (Pretend to climb a tree.)
Let’s chew up the beaver tree. (Chorus)
Beavers four, beaver five, (Pretend to dance.)
Do a little beaver jive. (Chorus)
Beaver six, beavers seven, (Wave your arms and look up.)
Let’s fly up to beaver heaven. (Chorus)
Beavers eight, beavers nine, (Extend arms stiffly like Frankenstein.)
Do a little Frankenstein. (Chorus)
Beavers ten, beavers ten, (Extend arms and open and close fingers.)
Let’s be beavers once again! (Chorus)