"Children will be smarter, better able to get along with others, healthier and happier when they have regular opportunities for free and unstructured play in the out-of-doors."
—American Medical Association, 2005
Spring has arrived! I can't help but be excited by the thought of sunshine, hikes, water and fresh air! This article written by Jane M. Jacobs, M.A., a Montessori Educational Consultant at Montessori Services spoke to me in considering how outdoor time is such a powerful tool for our children. In the article, Jane offers a variety of ideas for making the best of your outside time with your little one.
Were you told to "go out and play" when you were a child? Now, as a parent, do you give your children the same instructions? Perhaps not, but even for the urban, over-scheduled family, there are ways to give our children more opportunities to explore the outdoors.
For centuries it was common wisdom that children needed several hours of outdoor activity daily. As Dr. Benjamin Spock said, "It's good for a baby (like anyone else) to get outdoors for two or three hours a day." Some say we now suffer from "nature deficit disorder." Children spend more and more time indoors with bright toys, beeping computer games, and flashing screens. A more contemporary pediatrician, Harvey Karp, similarly tells us that "there are exhaustive studies showing that time outdoors, particularly in nature, benefit us in myriad ways... while staying inside is over-stimulating and at the same time boring for children."