Over three years ago, long before I’d started 3 in 30 and really headed down the path of diving into parent education resources, I attended a presentation put on by my son Noah’s kindergarten about the importance of children playing outside.
Like most moms, I already believed outdoor play was a good idea for my kids and tried to prioritize it when I could, but the presentation that night honestly blew me away. The presenter was a pediatric occupational therapist named Angela Hanscom who explained in detail the ways that different systems of the body develop when kids are allowed to play and adventure outside–to run and jump and carry stuff and climb. She went on to present alarming data on how this generation of children is struggling much more than children in the past with gross and fine motor skills and other essential development of the body’s systems simply because they aren’t playing outdoors as much.
I left the presentation feeling determined to make outside play a more central part of our family’s culture, and though we haven’t always been great about this in the years since, her presentation has always stayed with me–and whenever I start to feel like it’s just too hard to convince my kids to go outside and play, I think about Angela’s work and recommit to making it happen.
I am so thrilled to have Angela Hanscom on 3 in 30 today to give this community a taste of the presentation that has stayed with me for all these years.
How to Get Your Children Playing Outside
1) Make “loose parts” available to them. Remember, these are materials that can be used in multiple ways, such as sticks, sheets, boards, tires, and buckets.
2) Invite children over to play for the day, not just for a few hours. Give them time outside and loose parts and see what they come up with!
3) Purposefully stage the outdoor environment to invite play. You can place fort building supplies or mud kitchen supplies in an outdoor area and see if it inspires them to come up with something to do.
- Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children by Angela Hanscom
- Webpage: Timbernook
- Facebook page: @Timbernook
Episodes You Might Also Like:
Episode 40: How to Adventure As a Family
Episode 87: How to Find JOY with Your Children This Summer
Many thanks to this month’s sponsor, Revolution Math, an innovative online program designed to help 2nd – 5th graders develop their math skills and an overall love of learning.
You can try out Revolution Math with us this month for only $1 by using the code 3IN30. The month trial includes four one-hour classes and a complimentary learning kit mailed to your home!
Do you have any extra tips on how to get your children playing outside? Were their any tips in this episode you found especially helpful? Let me know in a comment below!