Parenting Connection: The benefits of playing outside

Parenting Connection

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: The benefits of playing outside

We all know getting outside and enjoying the outdoors is good for everyone, for many reasons…. but child development experts are now saying it’s never been more important for our kids to be playing outside.

Hundreds of thousands of Michigan kids have been somewhat couped up for more than a year due to the pandemic, but as the temperatures climb — so do the opportuntities for kids and their parents to make up for lost time.

Nature can be very therapeutic for kids — and educational too — in fact, developmental expert Kylie Rymanowicz says, parents who are a bit worried this past school year wasn’t up to par — should look for ways to have outside engagement over the next few months to make sure your children are still learning.

“There is a summer slide, where children tend to lose some skills over the summer where they are not reglarly going to school, but I don’t think that should involve sitting at the dinner table and doing math worksheets. There are engaging ways to learn and one of the best ways to learn is to do things that are hands on. So going outside and doing a science experiment outside or going through nature and talking about animals that you see, that’s still science learning even though it’s not a science worksheet.”

Here are a few suggestions for good outside engagement:

*Schedule an extra long family bike ride or walk
*Have a picnic and have your child help pick the food you’ll bring
*Create an outside obstacle course
*Teach your kids the art of gardening and plant flowers or trees
*Bring art outside by allowing your kids to paint or play with sidewalk chalk

Child development experts say, make a serious effort to get outdoors a lot — because playing outside is important for not only a child’s physical development but their mental and emotional development as well.

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