Guest Blogger: Melanie Nichols

This March, we are sharing a special series of blog posts from Melanie Nichols. This series was originally posted in February 2021. You can find Melanie and her blog here. If you would like to submit to our blog, please email us.

  1. Sunshine – vitamin D and the immunity boost that comes with it 
  2. Exercise – lower BMI, lower stress, better sleep 
  3. Academic performance – more concentration, better classroom performance, higher standardized test scores, increased creativity
  4. Socialization – greater self-awareness, improved peer relationships, increased confidence and responsibility 
  5. Appreciation of nature 

These benefits listed on Harvard Health and Today’s Parent (links below) come from when children spend time outside.  As loving parents and teachers, most of us would agree that we want our kids to be physically healthy as well as well-rounded, independent and compassionate individuals. The great thing is that by encouraging our kids to spend time outside, we can help cultivate all of these qualities.

What can we do to encourage our kids to be outside more? Of course, a nature-inspired class field trip or a family camping vacation are great ideas, but there are smaller things we can do too. At home, we can enjoy meals outside, take walks together, visit local playgrounds, go on neighborhood scavenger hunts, put kids in charge of outdoor chores, and be intentional about setting aside time for kids to go out and play each day. Making sure our kids have proper clothing for all seasons and having relatively inexpensive outdoor toys (bubbles, chalk, balls) on hand are also good ideas. 

At school, we can prioritize outdoor recess – even broadening what we view as acceptable weather to go outside.  Lunchtime is another excellent opportunity to encourage time outside. We can also look for in-class opportunities to take students outside, such as independent reading, science experiments, art lessons, music classes, etc. 

Once we recognize the value of time spent outside and its many benefits for our kids, we are motivated to find new and creative ways to work time outside into our daily lives. 

Harvard Health – Outside Play

Today’s Parent – Benefits of Outside

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