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Encouraging Kids to Play Outside


My 5th grader was recently amused as she read aloud a passage from her new science book, regarding nature walks. The book warned that you should always ask permission before going outside your house and you should never go into a wooded area alone.

Since it seems like I am constantly hollering into the woods for my children or calling them back from some creek or gully [2], I was slightly amused at this, too. (Although, if you want your children to ask your permission before going outside it is fine with me!)

This conversation came on the heels of being asked how I get my children to spend so much time outdoors, so I thought I would list a few of the things I do:

Encouraging Children to Play Outside

My children LOVE to play outside. I encourage it every single day, and according to research, it does them a world of good! Pediatrician and researcher, Pooja Tandon, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute, was quoted in a recent study [3] as saying,

“Physical activity through play is essential for preschoolers’ growth and development,” and "Outdoor play is also beneficial for motor development, vision, cognition, Vitamin D levels and mental health."

See? So go ahead and scrap those lesson plans for teaching your toddler to walk or your preschooler to notice leaves [4], and just go outside and ... walk and notice leaves!

What about your children? How do you encourage them to play outside?