Some smart pediatricians are writing prescriptions for kids with the orders: Go Outside and Play! Especially in summer weather this is so important for kids. In a recent Boston Globe article, Karen Weintraub, writes about the program Outdoors Rx. Kids today are simply not getting enough outside time, so doctors all over the country are prescribing more.
The program is catching on and some kids are getting the message. Dr. Christina Scirica, a Harvard instructor, outlines some of the benefits of outside time, “The vitamin D your body makes from being exposed to sunlight builds strong bones, wards off infection, and helps kids with asthma breathe better. Having fun is also a great stress reliever and mood booster.” Adults are not the only ones to be affected by stress, kids are also impacted and anxiety is a major concern for preschool age children.
Some ways to spend outside time for young kids are:
- a walk, run, wagon or bike ride around the block
- blowing bubbles and chasing them around the yard
- collecting leaves, twigs, berries, pine cones and other natural items to make a fairy soup
- making a simple obstacle course in a safe, open area: a turned over chair can be a tunnel to crawl under; a pool noodle balanced between 2 sand pails can make a ‘log’ to jump over, draw a wiggly path with chalk, etc.
- play hopscotch on the sidewalk
- going to a neighborhood playground for swinging and sliding
- kicking a big ball in the park
These are a few ideas to get started enjoying some outside time. Once kids start spending time playing outside, even a few minutes each day, they often want to spend longer and longer. There are some added benefits for parents and caregivers too. What outside fun and games does your child like to play?
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