I have heard if you give a kid a wand, it’s just a wand.
If you give a kid a stick, it’s a wand, a sword, a lightsaber, a torch, a staff, a stick, a spoon, a flashlight…it’s whatever the kid imagines it to be.
I enjoy watching this unfold with my five-year-old. The more simple the item is, the less toy-like it is, the more the imagination runs wild. While we have more than enough toys in the house, when we go outside our play is different. We rarely even get toys out when my daughter plays outside. She needs a place to run around and that is all. As soon as she has a place to run and the opportunity for free-play, the creative juices get flowing.
Regardless of the place of play, she is able to imagine and run. She is able to create stories. She is able to make any item into whatever fits into her play. Sand or gravel turns into food, money, or whatever her mind wants it to be.
Watching her imagination is just one of the benefits of unplugging, getting active, and getting outside. She also sleeps and eats better after having plenty of time running around outdoors.
Balanced and active play lays the foundation for a skilled, healthy, resilient, and successful society. Play is disappearing at home, in school, and in communities. 70% of moms played outside when they were kids and just 31% off their kids play outside today. This CLIF Kid video reminds you to Come Out to Play.
Let’s get the kids out to play! They will be happier…and so will mom and dad. It’s also key as the parent to unplug and get outside too. It’s important to be a good example and teach your children healthy habits.
With school around the corner, there are only a few more days or weeks of the freedom of a summer schedule. Use the time to get your children outside!
If your child struggles with free play, or if it’s hard to get them to unplug to get outside, you may need to help encourage their outdoor play. Here are a few tips:
- Help build an obstacle course.
- Create a contest or initiate a race.
- Go on a nature scavenger hunt. (Get the Nature Scavenger Hunt printable!)
- Think of a movie or set of characters that they like. Encourage them to act out a scene or pretend they are the characters of their favorite movie.
- Use walking, running, or biking as a way to get to your destination.
- Find a hill to run up or roll down.
- Plan a Backyard Olympic event with your neighbors.
When we go to the park, my daughter loves running around the paths more than anything. She loves to run up the huge snow hill close to our home. Expending this energy often makes her hungrier. To fuel her body, I prefer to give her healthy food. CLIF Kid makes nutritious snacks from organic ingredients that are specially-crafted for kids’ developing taste buds and active lives. My daughter enjoys CLIF Kid Zbars as fuel for running around.
I enjoy the convenience of bringing Zbars along when we are on-the-go. I agree with my daughter that they are also tasty!
Check out the CLIF Kid Facebook page.
Print off the printable: Nature Scavenger Hunt
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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