With the leaves starting to change, so too is the weather. Whether the weather is cold or hot where you live, it is important for preschoolers to get out of the building and go outside to exercise, explore, play, and enjoy some fresh air.
Outdoor play fosters positive opportunties for growth and development
- Cognitively: preschoolers are exposed to new words and ideas such as cold, hot, and warm; trees, leaves, flowers, and dirt; snow and ice; clouds, wind, and rain.
- Socially: preschoolers often use their imaginations and role play more actively when playing outdoors.
- Emotionally: preschoolers build self-confidence as they explore and interact with nature.
- Physically: preschoolers get much needed exercise and they get to release some of that pent up energy.
Once the weather starts to get colder, it is tempting to decide that outdoor time is not that important. Often times, this is because the cold weather bothers adults more than it does children. Put the needs of children first by making the decision to go outside. Bring a warm jacket and some gloves for yourself if needed, but don't let cooler weather discourage you from taking preschoolers outside.
Plan to go outside
Outdoor play should include time for freeplay and exploration but teachers can also include outdoor activities in their lesson plans. By including an outdoor activity, teachers will make sure their students get to go outside. Planned activities can include ideas like...
- Going on a leaf hunt or bug hunt
- Painting outside with leaves, tree limbs, rocks, or other items from nature
- Packing an outdoor snack pack or picnic lunch
- Bringing a paper bag outside and taking a nature walk to collect items from nature
- Adding interesting items to use during outdoor play like magnifying glasses, plastic bug jars, and rakes
- Adding interesting items that you wouldn't ordinarily think of as "out doorsy" like step ladders, paint brushes, easels, plastic dishes, and a variety of kid safe tools.
Parents will often worry that outdoor play isn't appropriate for their child once weather starts to change. Take time to share resources with your parents as to the benefits of outdoor play. In this link ChildcareAware provides parents information about why outdoor play is important for preschoolers including infants, toddlers, and up.
Click here to See this innovative approach towards bringing preschool into the great outdoors. Once you see this video, it is hard to come up with excuses as to why most preschoolers shouldn't spend time outside.
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Going outside creates great teachable moments - see more about teachable moments.
Copyright ©2009 Deborah J. Stewart; All Rights Reserved!