How important is outside time for children’s learning and development? Not just talking the talk, this doctor is walking the walk.
More than a prescription that says: Rx Outside Activity, this doctor is leading a group of kids and parents for a trip through the park. In an NPR article, To Make Children Healthier, A Doctor Prescribes A Trip To The Park, Sam Sanders outlines how much Dr. Robert Zarr believes in spending time outside. Dr. Zarr has compiled information on 380 parks in the area, “The parks, mapped and rated based on facilities and in a searchable database by zip code, can be linked to patients’ electronic medical records.” He can customize the prescription based on a patient’s activities, location, and schedule.
Time spent outside is important for more than physical development and health. For children, the whole world might be their playground but there is something special about a playground or park space for all kinds of fun, learning, and kindergarten readiness. Even small neighborhood tot lots are great for moving and being outside. The dirt, grass, rocks, and puddles will all appeal to kids, as will the swings and slides. There is a need for more supervision than a fenced backyard but several families can meet for playground-dates.
At the playground, children will play on the equipment differently. Some children are very risk-tolerant and will want to try everything, some are risk-aversive and will need encouragement. Part of the time, kids can also direct their own exploration and adventures. Parents get to practice balancing and juggling safety versus standing back.
Some of the benefits of time at the playground are obvious, such as strengthening muscles and developing coordination, getting fresh air in and excess energy out. Children also practice social skills as they share and take turns. Sometimes, they need to negotiate with playmates as they interact. Kids practice problem-solving, making choices, and language skills. Besides these and others, little ones are developing big connections to nature.
For a play-of-the-day, is there an opportunity for you and your child to have some fun and learning time at the playground or park?
Source / Image Source: Shots, Health News from NPR