outside play time

Outdoor Classroom Day – Kids Need to Play and Learn Outdoors

Today is Outdoor Classroom Day all around the world because kids need to play and learn outdoors! Over one million children, in more than 52 countries, and almost 10,000 schools are involved so far. But they don’t have to be in school to have fun outside. You can do this at home or at a care center.

kids go wild for nature

Being outside has tremendous benefits. “Learning outdoors creates lasting memories, helps build a greater awareness of the environment, provides more opportunities to think independently, and gets children feeling challenged and excited by learning. Children are more active when they play outdoors. It is essential for their healthy development and enjoyment of childhood.” (Outdoor Classroom Day)

Following are some ideas for outside play:

  • Take a hike. This can be as short as down the street or a long walk in a park. Instead of a walk, it could be a bike ride or a scooter one. Sometimes, kids like to pull stuffies in a wagon.
  • If you are at a park, kids can kick a ball, run around, and roll down a hill.
  • Either you or the kids can blow bubbles and chase them around the yard.
  • Hunt for some nature treasures like rocks, flowers, pine cones, leaves, twigs, and berries. These can be made into a fairy soup.
  • Draw a hopscotch on the sidewalk or find one in a playground.
  • Swing, slide, and climb at the playground too.
  • Play in the dirt. Or the rocks, or puddles.
  • Fly a kite. Check the internet for some super easy ones you can make at home.
  • If it’s warm enough, turn on the sprinkler and let kids run thru it. This appeals to kids of all ages, and grownups too.
  • Have a race with your shadows. Who will win? Do you ever catch up to your shadow?
  • Look for critters hiding in the grass or under rocks and logs.

Not only are there benefits for being outside now, but also far into the future. “Children who have the freedom to play today—making friends, getting lost in the moment, having fun—are better prepared for whatever tomorrow throws at them. Playing helps children build friendships, test their own boundaries and solove their own problems.”   (Outdoor Classroom Day)

outdoor play activities

This doesn’t only help them enjoy childhood but life. Kids need to play and learn outdoors, and so do we. Will outside play be a play-of-the-day at your house or early care center?


Do Like Groundhogs – Go Outside For Groundhog Day

Need something to do today? Kids and grownups can make like the creatures themselves and go outside for groundhog day. No matter the weather or prediction.

We know kids need more outdoor and nature time. Need some ideas? Here are some we can do any day:

  1. Check out the sky. Any sun? Clouds can be different in the winter. In some areas, the entire sky seem to be lower.
  1. Look on the ground. The ground may be all white for some people. Or, it could be just brown, with or without puddles. Where it’s hot and dry, the winter months may be the only time the grass is green because summer sun turns it brown.
  1. Any action down there? There might not be a great deal of action, but that’s something to notice too. What’s happened to the worms and bugs? Animals may have left some prints in the snow.children and nature wonder
  2. Did you know trees can talk? Well, not in words, but they are still telling us their news. The news might be a few buds on the branches if we can get close enough to see. The message could also be “Stay tuned and check back again soon.”
  1. Close eyes and turn face up to the sky. If you are lucky, some sun will kiss your cheek. Feel any wind today? If it’s cold, you might want to bring your nose back down pretty quick.
  1. Take in a deep breath. What does the air feel like today?
  1. Turn around slowly and see if you have a shadow. If the groundhog sees its shadow, it’s back to sleep for 6 more weeks of winter.

groundhog day for kids
Whether or not your area gets more winter or starts spring, groundhogs need two things, a good sleep and outside time. Outside time helps kids with sleep, and that definitely helps grownups. As a matter of fact, Parents Get Some Sleep is an even better day, er night, to celebrate. Can you and your child go outside for groundhog day?

New Year’s Resolution: Kids Need Time OUTDOORS Every Day

There are many great New Year’s resolutions, but a priority is kids need time outdoors every day. Try for at least 10 or 15 minutes, depending on weather. While this doesn’t sound like very much, it’s more than the average! Research has discovered kids these days only spend 4 to 7 minutes a day outside. Compare that to about 4 hours of watching tv or other screens. It’s almost unimaginable that we would need to make a new year’s resolution for kids to play outside. What a change in just one generation.

kids need time outdoors

To inspire some outside fun with your child, here are 10 suggestions:

1. The Walk: Going for a walk is pretty obvious, but it’s surprising how different it can be from one day to the next. Of course, getting young kids dressed for the weather can take more time than the walk, but it helps if mitts, boots, mud pants, and other items are all together in a basket by the door.

2. Get a Kick Outside: Kicking a ball can happen on grass or snow. Maybe tuck an extra pair of socks in a pocket. Sometimes when kids kick the ball, they also kick off their boot.

3. Hunt for Treasure: In some areas, the ground could be covered with snow, but there will still be treasures. Check around trees and bushes for sticks, pine cones, and small stones.

4. Follow the Leader: This is a fun game for all ages. When kids lead the line instead of adults, they like to splash in puddles and slide on the ice. Be prepared.

5. I Spy: Look around and take turns playing I Spy. Even if there’s no snow, clouds are also white.

6. Colored Snow: Make a rainbow in the snow with some squirt bottles and colored water. This might need a few pairs of mittens as well as several bottles of different colors.

7. Playgrounds: Swings and slides can be fun even in the winter. You might need to take along an old towel or rag to wipe off the slide. If the area at the end of the slide is quite icy, you may be able to break the ice or scrape some dirt over it so kids don’t keep sliding when the get to the end of the slide. Are there ropes to climb too?

8. Hopscotch: While this is harder to do in boots, as long as the ground isn’t too wet, kids can play hopscotch. Just hopping around is fun too.

9. Tag: For kids that are a little older, they can choose a tag game like Frozen Tag or Statues. Running around and chasing each other is always fun.

10. Shovel the Snow or Dig in the Dirt: A shovel is a fun toy for outside play. For kids that is.  Kids need time outdoors and so do grownups but adults don’t think of shoveling snow as fun.

kids need time outside

Kids will have their own ideas of ways to play outside. Could Kids Need Time OUTDOORS Every Day be one of your family’s resolutions and goals?



Play-of-the-Day: Holiday Outside Play Time

Some lucky kids and families get time for winter play. Did your kids get any outside toys? It might be a great day for holiday outside play time. Dress for the weather and head outdoors to try out those skis, skates, sleighs, toboggans, wagons and bikes. Holiday time plus winter usually means more time indoors, … Continue reading Play-of-the-Day: Holiday Outside Play Time

Play-of-the-Day Advent Calendar – Christmas Outdoor Fun

Is the weather in your area part of Christmas outdoor fun? No matter where you live, dress kids for the weather and take them outside for fun and play. This weekend, it’s snowing here. With the temperature right around freezing, it’s perfect weather for making snowmen. That’s certainly what the kids did as soon as … Continue reading Play-of-the-Day Advent Calendar – Christmas Outdoor Fun

A Daily Dose of Outdoor Time for Young Children

A popular author, Richard Louv has another great resource to encourage outdoor time for young children-Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life. The book includes 500 ways for families to spend time in nature. In the space of one generation, kids have become divorced from nature. They no longer spend most of their … Continue reading A Daily Dose of Outdoor Time for Young Children

Summer Fun and Learning Outside for Kids: Bubbles

There are so many activities that can happen outside in the summertime for fun, learning, and for those kids who will be starting school, for kindergarten readiness too. Blowing bubbles appeals to kids of all ages; it can be done many times and kids will still want to do it again.   A bubble is so … Continue reading Summer Fun and Learning Outside for Kids: Bubbles

Doctor Takes Kids Around the Park for Outside Time

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 … Continue reading Doctor Takes Kids Around the Park for Outside Time