128: How to Get Your Kids to Play Outside & Why It Matters // Angela Hanscom
Over three years ago, long before I’d started 3 in 30 and really headed down the path of diving into parent education resources, I attended a presentation put on by my son Noah’s kindergarten about the importance of children playing outside.
Like most moms, I already believed outdoor play was a good idea for my kids and tried to prioritize it when I could, but the presentation that night honestly blew me away. The presenter was a pediatric occupational therapist named Angela Hanscom who explained in detail the ways that different systems of the body develop when kids are allowed to play and adventure outside--to run and jump and carry stuff and climb. She went on to present alarming data on how this generation of children is struggling much more than children in the past with gross and fine motor skills and other essential development of the body’s systems simply because they aren’t playing outdoors as much.
I left the presentation feeling determined to make outside play a more central part of our family’s culture, and though we haven’t always been great about this in the years since, her presentation has always stayed with me--and whenever I start to feel like it’s just too hard to convince my kids to go outside and play, I think about Angela’s work and recommit to making it happen.
I am so thrilled to have Angela Hanscom on 3 in 30 today to give this community a taste of the presentation that has stayed with me for all these years.
How to Get Your Children Playing Outside
1) Make "loose parts" available to them. Remember, these are materials that can be used in multiple ways, such as sticks, sheets, boards, tires, and buckets.
2) Invite children over to play for the day, not just for a few hours. Give them time outside and loose parts and see what they come up with!
3) Purposefully stage the outdoor environment to invite play. You can place fort building supplies or mud kitchen supplies in an outdoor area and see if it inspires them to come up with something to do.