Playing Outside with Preschoolers: We’re Not Doing Enough

Did you see this new study which found that nearly half of all pre-schoolers in the U.S. don’t get outside to play each day?  The findings were presented in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine just a couple of days ago.  The folks over at CNN’s The Chart wrote a piece about the findings and suggested that parents make sure their children’s daycare providers provide outside time each day, and parents need to get outside with them, too.  Outside play is important for some obvious reasons: it helps with weight management and physical fitness.  It’s also essential that kids get enough Vitamin D and work on their motor skills.

That’s all well and good, but sometimes it’s tough to think of fun things to do outside – and by fun I mean for the kid AND the parent.  I’d love to hear about some of the things you enjoy doing with your kiddos outside.  Here are some of my faves:

pulling weeds/gardening/raking

playing “tennis” in the driveway

kicking around a soccer ball (or any kind of ball)

drawing with sidewalk chalk

going on nature walks – i.e., noticing the plants, animals, sky around you, collecting bugs

playing hopscotch

playing follow-the-leader

window shopping around an outdoor mall/shopping center

Experts recommend 60 minutes of outdoor activity time per day for the preschool set.  Remember, it doesn’t have to be done all at once.  20 minutes here and there really add up!

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