9 Reasons Kids Should be Outside Every Day
The great outdoors is such a wonderful place for children (and adults) to play and learn. We try hard to get our boys outside at least once a day. Sometimes it’s just for a few minutes to walk to the mailbox, other days we are outside for hours. It’s amazing what just a little bit of time in the sun can do for everyone.
Learn to Appreciate Nature
When you spend time outside, you learn to appreciate the beauty around you. Being among the trees makes you realize how much they help us, consciously and subconsciously. We tell the trees thank you for providing the shade we play under when we are at the park. I’ve taught my boys that pulling leaves off of a plant can hurt it. Even at their young ages, they are learning that we need to be nice to the nature around us. We are careful not to do anything that could harm any animals, and even the “scary” things, like bees, are good and are needed. Except wasps, those spawns of evil are an exception!
There’s no better way to get the vitamin D your body needs than to soak up the sun’s rays. Of course, you don’t want to soak up so much that you get burned, but a bit of sun every day is really good for your body. If you’re like me, all it takes it about 5-10 minutes of sun before I start to get pink. Know your limits, and your child’s limits, and take necessary precautions. We usually go play in the backyard once the sun is on the front of the house. We still go into the sunny areas for a little bit, but most of the time are in the shade. It’s the perfect mixture of sun and shade.
Sure, we have some outdoor toys that we play with, but we also will make up games based on what we find. We’ve played games the boys made up using just sticks and leaves, or sometimes rocks, or shells when we are at the beach. When a child is bored, they will use their creativity to come up with something fun. Going outside minimizes all the distractions and let’s their imagination run wild.
No Screens Outside
There have actually been studies done on the effect that going outside has on a child’s vision. Most believe that this is linked to not staring at a screen when they are playing outside. My boys are limited to one hour per day on their tablets, and they have the tv on quite a bit but aren’t actively watching it most of the time. When we go outside, they aren’t allowed to bring their tablets our, we don’t have an outdoor tv, and my phone is only out there to take some photos and listen to music.
Most of the time, you aren’t going to go outside and just sit still. You are going to be walking, running around, playing games, swinging at the park, etc. When you get outside, you are more likely to increase the amount you are moving, thus getting more exercise in. Childhood obesity is becoming an epidemic in the United States, and spending time outside can help your child burn off some of their energy.
Boost the Immune System
Remember that Vitamin D you are soaking up outside? Turns out just being outside can boost your entire immune system. Unless you are somewhere that has poor air quality (or have a medical reason against breathing in the air outside), usually the air outdoors is better than the air in your home. You also tend to get better oxygen when you are out among the plants and trees.
What do children have to stress about? Sure, it seems silly, but children can be stressing about things that seem so simple to us. Getting outside, in the sun, among the trees, can naturally lower stress levels. Sometimes when my boys are having cranky days that everything seems to bother them, we either go out back to play or walk down to the park and it’s amazing the difference it makes in their attitudes. Bonus, it also helps me unwind from dealing with their crankiness.
When we go in the backyard to play, it’s just us. When we go to the park, the playground, or even play in the front yard, we are almost always joined by other kids. Sometimes these are neighbors and kids we know, others we just meet. No matter who it is, playing with other children helps them all to socialize and learn some basic manners. Everyone can’t go down the slide at the same time, there’s only one winner in the race, not everyone wants to play the same game. All of this forces them to learn how to deal with these circumstances.
Gross Motor Skills
There’s a lot more room to run around, spin, jump, and climb outside than there is in the house. Going outside and letting the kids burn their energy lets them work on their gross motor skills and learning their limits.
So now that you have committed to getting outside more often, what are you going to do? Part of this depends on the age of your children, but there are so many things you can do outside.
Create a nature journal with your children. Buy a simple notebook, and let them write down or sketch photos of the neat things that they find while out and about. Go for a walk on a nearby nature trail or take a bike ride and see what you can find together. Maybe put together your own scavenger hunt of things you want to look for. Make a nature box to hold anything neat (not alive) that your child finds and wants to hold on to and keep it outside for them to add to it often.
Another great way to teach children about nature and what it provides for us is to start a garden together and let them help plant the seeds, water, harvest, etc. My boys love to help in our garden.
For some fun in your own yard, you can always get some chalk, bubbles, or water guns to play with. Kids love to draw with chalk, and it washes away easily. My boys haven’t quite mastered bubbles yet, but they love to chase them! And if it’s a warm summer day, water is always fun.
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What a neat idea from our friends at Craft Invaders. If you want to get creative this Spring, try this for the annual Easter egg hunt! What do you guys think? Comment below!
Sgraffito is an art technique in which a surface layer of paint, plaster, slip, etc., is scratched away to reveal a ground of contrasting color underneath. In this tutorial, we will first show you a simple technique for blowing an egg, and then how to decorate it using Sgraffito. This is such a fun activity for the whole family – even Daddy had a go!
We are lucky enough to have a constant supply of these beautiful large tinted eggs from our lovely Light Sussex Hens. I simply washed and dried them, and then used a hand drill to make small holes in both ends of each egg.
As kids I think we used a pin to make the holes, and when I bought the syringes and needles from our local agricultural store, the man who served me said he used to use the thorns from Hawthorn bushes.
Use the syringe and needle to introduce air into the egg at one end, and the contents will start to be pushed out of the other. If it is difficult for the yolk to pass out, give the contents a stir with a cocktail stick. Alternatively, you can use the traditional method of blowing with your mouth. Once the egg is empty wash it out, and leave to dry.
Paint the dry, clean eggs with acrylic paint. The eggs you see in this tutorial had two coats applied. We found that we could just get a kebab stick into ours, which held them really nicely for painting!
It’s then time to start making your Sgraffito pattern. I used a punched out butterfly as a template, and used my craft knife to scratch around it to get the outline. As long as you can grip it safely, I am sure you could use a number of different items; such as a fork prong or map pin.
Once I had scratched out my outline, I added some detail to the body and wings. It is pretty easy to scratch the paint away. I repeated the process around my egg until I was satisfied with the effect.
We are absolutely delighted with how this project turned out! The effect is really pretty, and providing you wash you egg out well and allow it to dry before painting, there is no reason why it shouldn’t last forever. If you’ve enjoyed this tutorial, why not check out Decorating Eggs with Decoupage tutorial.
We just love the idea of Easter Egg Decoupage here at MAK(Mom Always Knows) and wanted to give yall a chance to see how it is done! Craft Invaders has a great tutorial posted below so check it out and let us know how yours come out!
Decoupage is the art of decorating an object by gluing colored paper on to it, and then sealing the finished product in layers of varnish until the cut-out appearance vanishes altogether. Craftsmen in the past have combined this technique with specialist paints and finishes such as gold leaf to produce really beautiful works of art.
Although I can not promise that our works of art will end up in a museum in a couple of hundred years, it is really easy to use the concept of decoupage at home to decorate objects, and it is a great activity to do with the kids. In the past we have used Autumn Leaves to decoupage, today we decided to use the technique for an Easter craft.
The eggs we used have been blown to remove their contents, it’s great fun and full instructions can be found here. Alternatively, I am sure that the polystyrene or paper mache eggs that you buy in craft shops, would work just as well. Traditional decoupage paper is thin, which does give a lovely smooth finish, however, we wanted to use something that everyone would have at home, so simply tore a few colorful pictures out of magazines, and cut them into little pieces. Likewise, although there are lots of specialist decoupage glues on the market, we find that we get perfectly good results in our craft projects by using traditional PVA glue.
We started by covering a small area of the object with a fairly generous coating of the glue and stuck the first piece of cut paper in place. We then painted over that piece again with more glue ensuring all the edges were well stuck down. We continued, overlapping the first with the next, and so on, each time coating the stuck down paper with more glue – when dry this gives the finished object the ‘varnished look’ as well as protecting it.
Once your project is completely dry you can coat it with a clear water-based varnish – the more coats you add the more authentic your work of art will look and the more robust it will be. We made ours as presents, they will be going in little baskets along with some of our Home made Bath Fizzes.
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