WHY NURTURE A LOVE FOR OUTDOOR PLAY?
Playing outdoors is a quintessential childhood experience for good reason. Whether it is a backyard, local park, or a forest trail, there is no richer or more stimulating environment than nature. Every sense is engaged and the scope for imagination, decision making, cooperation and exploration is without limit. Inviting outdoor play is a powerful way to nurture your child’s independence and to foster in them a sense of freedom. Nurturing children’s nature aesthetic (one of the Seven Pillars of Well Nurtured Children) is very much connected to empowering connections with the world around them. When children are connected to nature, their sense of calm, balance, and wellness emerges naturally.
INVITING OUTDOOR PLAY: CONNECTIONS TO NATURE MATTER
Being outdoors, in nature, has physical, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual benefits for children. It is through the pillar of nature that children learn to communicate and connect creatively through the aesthetic beauty of the world around them. And it is through play that children most naturally explore and connect with the world outdoors.
As parents, inviting children to play outdoors holds many benefits. Not only are you children getting out and connecting with nature, but so are you. What’s more, play outdoors nurtures a sense of well-being and calm that will translate into their indoor play and learning. If your child is hesitant to engage in outdoor play, there are ways you, as a parent or caregiver, can invite them to explore the possibilities right outside the front door.
“Go and open the door. Maybe outside there’s a tree, or a wood, or a garden, or a magic city…”
by Miroslav Holub
CREATING INVITATIONS FOR OUTDOOR PLAY
As parents, it is critical to offer and to explore environments that welcome learning, invite interaction, and open doors to possibilities alongside our children. When we do this, we nurture the confidence, imagination, and innovative thinking we want to see in our children. To this end, creating invitations to play means finding ways of walking through that door with our children – leading them to nature, as it were – and then, letting go and watching the simple magic of play happen. Here are some ideas to get you started in this new chapter of play and learning.
To inspire your child to play outdoors you can invite them to:
- Get messy without consequence! When playing indoors, play is limited in some ways by the confines of the space. Show them that outside, anything goes. Show them you mean it by being the first to jump in that big juicy mud puddle and then watch them shed inhibitions and play freely in nature.
- Find their way into play with a defined activity as a starting point. Whether it is feeding birds, building a fort or flying a kite, having a sense of purpose makes an invitation for outdoor play more appealing and less daunting. Once you and your child are outdoors, step back and let them take the lead. Remember, the idea is to invite play, not to direct it.
- Bring favourite materials from indoors, outdoors. Balls, blocks, clay, and paint brushes are all perfect indoor play tools to bring outside. Because children are familiar with their purpose during indoor play, having access to them outdoors, in a new environment, can delight and surprise them. The new possibilities for creativity and imagination invite a deeper exploration of nature and outdoor play.
MORE ABOUT NURTURING CHILDREN THROUGH OUTDOOR PLAY
If you are interested in learning more about creating time and space for outdoor play for your child, we invite you to download our Nature Play Bundle. In this downloadable bundle, you will find plenty of ideas that parents and educators can use to invite children to play outdoors and nurture their nature aesthetic pillar while sparking curiosity, independence, and adventure. Share your experiences with outdoor play to Instagram and be sure to tag me @nurturedinspirations in your post.
IT’S YOUR TURN
As always, I welcome you to share something that you do in your own life to nurture in your own children a love for nature and the nature aesthetic pillar. Your input is important and brings new ideas and perspectives to our dialogue. Please share in the comment section below. The world needs your voice and now is your chance to share it!
Founder ~ Nurtured Inspirations
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DIVE DEEPER INTO PLAY
If you’re looking for more ideas to inspire play with your children, take a peek at our Nurture Play Bundle created for parents, homeschoolers, and educators. This bundle is jam-packed with 7 Play Guides featuring 49 inspirations for play! Whether you have a toddler, preschooler, or school-aged children, this bundle is for you! Learn more here