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Back to school: Go play


Getting back to school is an exciting time for both parents and kids. Last year report by the National Wildlife Federation, “Back to School: Back Outside,” key finding was that kids who spend time outdoors both at school and home, become higher-performance learners and score higher on standardized tests. For more on their key findings, check out National Wildlife Federation’s Back to School: Back Outside.

If you are reading this you probably know that outdoor time is important for kids, but finding the time to play in our hectic lifestyles can be the most challenging.

Here are a few ideas to inspire and create outdoor play in your life.

Walk to school
Walk to school, if it is hard for you to walk your kids to school create a walking bus in your community

Play at the playground after school
If you are picking your kids up from school, try sticking around for a while and let the kids play at the playground after school is finished.
When my daughter started Kindergarten I discovered to my joy that a lot of the parents would stay after school was finished. Not only does this create great outdoor play “critical mass”, but also allows parents to connect as friends and compare notes on daily school business.

Schedule outdoor play
Team up with other parents and start an outdoor playgroup after school. Finding all season outdoor activities to do in you community is easy. Get inspired from other playgroups here in our outdoor community.

Make room for outdoor play
Extracurricular activities can be a great addition to your child education and life, but be sure to make room for your kids to just play outside.

Get involved with your school
Get involved with your school, find out ways you can help to create better and more enticing outdoor play environments. Maybe your school already has some great outdoor initiatives already going that you can get involved in. Getting involved with making a school garden or helping teachers organize outdoor field trips is a great way to incorporate outdoor education.

Dress for it. Be prepared for the weather and the outdoors.
Make sure your kids are prepared with functional clothing to be outside. Good shoes and clothing that keeps them warm on the inside and the keeps the water outside. You do not have to look like you are going camping or on an arctic expedition. There are a lot of cool options out there.

And if your work hours just don’t give you the time to get the kids outside be sure to look for daycares and afterschool programs that focus on time outside.

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