If you're anything like me the transition to Summer break makes you feel equally excited and terrified — That ever-present question of "What are we going to do today?" looms over my head each morning. To avoid having to add the role of cruise director to my list of mom chores, I've deemed this Summer the Summer of outdoor adventure! A time for the kids to go outside for exploration and learning. They'll have so much fun that they won't realize that they're also learning! Keep reading for three top reasons you'll want to try this out this Summer, too.
Outdoor Adventure Fosters Cognitive Development
Did you know that outdoor adventures are great for cognitive development? When kids play outside, they're more likely to use their brains in a creative way. My youngest likes to pretend he’s going on a bear hunt when we go for hikes. He recites the lines from the story We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury as we hike along and the story evolves throughout our journey. This sort of activity helps with memory and language skills. An activity like hiking bingo can be great when taking kids on a longer hike. They use their observational skills to spot things like moss, a banana slug or a creek and have fun playing the game.
Adventure Encourages Self-Confidence
When kids play outdoors they can get loud and messy! They can let loose and run! The school year can be a lot about following the rules, keeping your area clean and only speaking when you raise your hand. Take a kid outdoors and all those requirements go out the window. Playing outdoors is a great way for kids to gain physical skills like strength and balance. Hike across a creek and you'll need to be brave and use your muscles so that you don’t step in the water.
The Outdoors Support Happiness & Wellbeing
When you play outdoors, endorphins are released to make you feel happier and less stressed, too! The exposure to natural light also helps kids to regulate their internal clock and sleep better. A connection with nature reminds us that we are part of a bigger planet.
Take a trip to the tide pools and see how many small creatures inhabit a small pool. Observe how a piece of trash thrown in the ocean could change that environment. Kids (and adults, too) can benefit from seeing how our actions can impact the world around us. Spend some time outdoors this summer and watch your children bloom!
Kate Loweth is a mother of three, writer and the community ambassador for Tinkergarten. She enjoys hiking, camping, and kite flying!
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