With seemingly endless waves of COVID-19 barraging the nation, some schools are open, some aren’t. There are also more families opting for home schooling even if their district is open. If your child is learning at home, it’s essential to keep them active outdoors to help them stay balanced, healthy and happy. Check out these upsides to promoting outdoor time for your kids in this growingly uncertain world.
Playgrounds set the stage for many elements of child development. By learning through play, children are able to discover and understand the world surrounding them. They offer environments for advancing fine and gross motor skills. Beyond those physical developments, life skills and emotional growth moments occur that will guide and serve them through all stages of life.
Topics: Childhood Unplugged
The normal routines kids enjoyed just a few months ago are almost nonexistent today. They often aren’t allowed to see their friends or go to each other's house to play. If they played sports or enjoyed being part of a group of any sort, that has likely ended. Everyone around them is distant and wearing a mask covering their faces. Only their closest family hug them as everyone on the outside is keeping their six foot distance.
This has led many kids to experience the very real effects of depression for the first time in their lives. It’s understandable. After all, we as humans are social beings, so denying that need would understandably lead to anxious or sad feelings. Thankfully, there are ways to help your child overcome the doldrums they are experiencing by embracing the great outdoors through play.
Dexterity and fine motor skills require the use of many small muscles in sync. Parents tend to associate the playground with the development of gross motor abilities like jumping and running, but it also improves fine motor skills.
April is World Autism Month. Now is the best time to increase awareness of this condition that affects so many children. The Centers for Disease Control reports that one in every 59 children is diagnosed with some form of autism. Autism can affect children from all ethnic and socioeconomic groups, but males are four times more likely to be diagnosed than females. Awareness of the prevalence of autism is the first step toward helping children and their families who suffer from this issue. One place that everyone can help kids with autism is on the playground.
It seems like the pressure on children to produce perfect test scores in school only gets stronger every year. The pressure is equally strong on teachers and education administrators since performance is typically tied to state or federal funding for schools. The STAAR test in Texas is one such example of test performance determining how much money each school receives in state funding.
Today’s children are growing up with screens at their fingertips. They have never had to live without smartphones, tablets or the internet. But studies show that too much screen time can have a negative impact on children. Their brains can actually change, according to The American Academy of Pediatrics. While smart devices can help improve your child’s education, too much time can be damaging.
Topics: Childhood Unplugged
Childhood obesity has hit an all-time high. The CDC reports that almost one out of every five school-aged children suffers from obesity. Obesity carries with it a plethora of negative consequences for kids. These include problems with self-esteem, health issues, reluctance to socialize, and more. Of course, no parent wants to see a child suffer from being out of shape, let alone obese. Even so-called normal-weight children often don’t get enough exercise. With the abundance of passive playthings like computers, tablets and cell phones, children are even less likely to get the amount of exercise that they need to thrive and grow.
Playgrounds as we know them are a relatively recent phenomenon. Few existed before the 20th century. Many sources claim that the first planned playground in the United States appeared in Boston in 1886, a year after a recreational "sand garden" was created in Germany. The rise of playgrounds coincided with the expansion of industrialization and the middle class, as well as the expansion of urban areas.
Kids have a natural instinct to climb and explore, which I’m sure is not a surprise to anyone who is a parent. Children climb everything — furniture, countertops, trees, playground equipment — EVERYTHING. The question is why?