Get Outdoors and Explore!

It’s an exciting time to welcome the beginning of summer and get outside and play! The warmer weather offers even more ways to be active. Outdoor play helps build healthy bodies and minds, and can be enjoyed by everyone. Children are naturally drawn to play outside. It’s a great way to connect with nature, enjoy fresh air, be active and have fun together.

Playing outdoors together helps children to:

  • practice physical skills (e.g. swinging, balancing and rolling)

  • develop self-confidence and self-esteem

  • ‘unplug’ from technology

  • build social skills and be creative

  • be curious and ask questions about nature

  • challenge themselves and explore

When children play, they learn about the world, themselves and others. As your child plays, you can help them think of new ways to do things and to solve problems. Ask for their ideas and follow their lead.

Some ideas for outdoor play are:

  • go for nature walks in your neighborhood and search for rocks, leaves and bugs

  • plant flowers and dig a mini garden

  • play in the sandbox, blow bubbles or run through the sprinkler

  • play in your back yard, visit a playground, play tag, soccer or catch

  • learn to ride a bike or tricycle

  • play hopscotch, climb or jump

  • create an obstacle course

Be safe

Set clear boundaries and let children play freely and safely. To learn more about playground safety and to take the Playground Safety YES Test, visit myhealth.alberta.ca/Alberta/Pages/take-the-playground-safety-yes-test.aspx.

Children love to play with or near water, but they don’t understand its dangers. Stay right beside children whenever they’re in, around or near water. Never leave them alone near water (e.g. wading pool, dugout, pond or lake) even if they know how to swim. Devices such as bath seats, lifejackets and water wings aren’t a substitute for adult supervision.

Make sure your child wears protective gear and gets the right training for whatever sport or recreational activity they’re doing. It’s the law in Alberta that children under 18 years old must wear bike helmets. Make bike helmets a habit for everyone in your family. Bike helmets reduce the risk of head injury in a crash by 85 per cent. To learn more about bike safety and to take the bike helmet YES Test, visit myhealth.alberta.ca/Alberta/Pages/bike-and-small-wheeled-recreation-safety-for-children.aspx.

This information contains excerpts from Alberta Health Services’ Healthy Parents, Healthy Children print and online resources. For more information on topics related to pregnancy and being a parent, and for information on where you can pick up print copies of the Healthy Parents, Healthy Children resources, free of charge, go to healthyparentshealthychildren.ca.

The Healthy Parents, Healthy Children team is a part of the larger Healthy Children and Families team at Alberta Health Services. Go to healthyparentshealthychildren.ca or visit your local community/public health centre for a print copy. Find them on Facebook at Healthy Parents, Healthy Children or follow on Twitter @AHS_HPHC. For questions or comments, contact hphc@ahs.ca.

Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2017 Calgary’s Child