It’s summer; do you know where your young children are? Hopefully your answer will not be ‘playing video games’ or ‘watching TV’. The fresh air outside awaits your child and it is time to turn off the TV/electronics. Summer time should remind us of longer days, a slower pace, and a time to explore nature and our environment without a schedule. Children learn a great deal about their world and themselves when allowed to play outside. Please encourage your child to go out back to play ball, blow bubbles, ride his/her bike, or simply lie on the grass to create images from the cloud formations overhead. Experts believe that a daily boost of 90 minutes of fresh air will benefit your child not only for the rest of his/her life. Active outside play teaches your child self-confidence and playing with other children increases your child’s ability to interact in social settings, like school.
If you are getting ready to send your 5 or 6 year old off to school for the first time, although it is tempting to try and give your child a jumpstart for school by giving him/her an educational workbook to work on please put the workbooks away and head outdoors. The other day I was walking with two young friends of mine and we noticed a full grown tomato plant, complete with tomatoes, growing out of a crack in a city sidewalk. Wow! This was certainly a teachable moment. ‘How did the seed get there?’ asked one girl, ‘How does it grow?’ asked her sister. The questions and the following discussion lasted several minutes while we continued to examine the plant. Had the children been indoors playing electronics, we would have missed this show from Mother Nature. Slow down, encourage your children to do the same and you will be in awe of what learning will take place from your efforts.