This week is Take a Child Outside Week. Why do we need a week to remind ourselves to play outside? Well, I realize I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but getting outside in nature has benefits to which no video game or nature program on television can compare. And while I have a feeling most of you know how important it is to get kids outside, and make it a priority in your lives, we must all do our best to encourage other families to do the same. And that’s the reasoning behind Take a Child Outside Week – to break down the obstacles that keep families inside and to share our enthusiasm and appreciation of the great outdoors with others.
Sometimes you have to be the first ones in your neighborhood to get outside before other families will join you … so start a movement this week and go outside! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Climb a tree! Besides being just plain fun, climbing trees teaches kids a myriad of different skills. If you don’t have a good climbing tree near your home, go on a “find a good climbing tree” expedition!
Speaking of trees, fall is a great time to learn about the trees where you live. The falling leaves and gorgeous colors offer so many possibilities for hands-on learning. This being our first fall in our new home with lots of trees in our backyard, we’ll be starting a leaf identification project. We want to know exactly what kind of trees we have in our yard! Rake your leaves and jump in the piles. Use the textures and colors as inspiration for an art project. Learn how to whistle through an acorn cap.
Test your caveman skills and build a fire, then celebrate your success by roasting s’mores. I built a fire all by myself last week and was so proud of myself. Imagine how good the kids will feel when they learn this valuable outdoor skill!
Sometimes fall means dreary weather. If the sunshine isn’t cooperating, how about taking advantage of the rain? Jump in puddles, look for worms, or experiment with chalk and puddles (or as Eli calls it, “making a colorful river”).
And last but not least, my friend Jen from 4tunate has a wonderful ebook, KidVentures: 50 Outdoor Experiences of Wonder, Discovery, & Childhood Memories, that’s full of all kind of ideas to get you outside year-round.
What will you do outside with your kids this week?