Childhood is about two things – having fun and learning about life and where one fits into it. While these are both ongoing and lifelong pursuits for most people, they are at their absolute peak when one is a child. Because of this, a lot of parents are well-aware that having their kids play outside is a significant part of helping children learn the necessary skills and temperament of a good life lived. At the same time, sometimes, parents don’t realize the full power that play possesses.
Playing outside is vital for a lot of reasons. For one, it exposes children to pollens and bacteria that can help them develop a robust immune system. As nice as it would be to simply shelter children for life, this is simply not a viable option. As well, playing outside makes it more likely that children will develop better social skills and a higher level of overall health and fitness. It doesn’t even feel like exercise, even though this is a side benefit.
The Back Yard and Boundaries
Below a certain age, it’s usually a good idea to keep your child in the back yard and under close supervision most of the time. This allows the child to get used to being outside, as well as keeping up with the fact that the yard is a predictable space where they are less likely to get into anything genuinely dangerous. This goes well with how much explosive energy the average very small child has and works well at keeping them safe. Usually, this is unnecessary by the time the child is around 5, as that seeming instinct for self-destruction seems to fade by that point.
It’s important to teach your children boundaries, and not just the interpersonal kind like good touch versus bad touch. The type of boundary a child is supposed to have early on is about the areas where they are allowed to be, versus areas where they aren’t supposed to be. This helps keep some structure and discipline for your child, as well as teaches them to be aware of their surroundings. But then, at the same time, you don’t want to hinder your child too much, because the only way they are going to learn is by making some of their own decisions.
Beyond the Neighborhood
There are many different places you can take your children when you want them to experience life away from your small corner of the world. One place is a wooded area, where you can show them different types of plant and animal life, as well as some basic survival and orienteering skills. Another great place is on the beach. There are several fun and educational things to do there, such as 18 of the most fun beach games and activities for kids. When you provide your children with something that’s both fun and educational for them, they can learn a lot without feeling like it’s compulsory.