The business of ending summer and heading back to school can knock outdoor play down the priority list a couple notches as other issues climb. After all, even for homeschoolers, there’s a lot to do — shopping for school clothes and supplies, registering for school, completing health requirements, obtaining all the important documents, and attending open houses.. This is an especially stressful time of year for parents and children who are buckling down to re-enter their school-year schedule after the more lenient routine of summer.
The message I have for you is simple: Don’t let this hectic time push you and your family indoors. Consider this brief period is setting the tone for the move into fall and winter. Consider the many benefits of living an active outdoor life. Keep outside play among your top family priorities. Here’s just a few reasons why, from an article by National Wildlife Federation backed by scientific studies:
- Outdoor play protects children’s emotional development whereas loss of free time and a hurried lifestyle can contribute to anxiety and depression. Children’s stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces.
- Spending time outside raises levels of Vitamin D, helping protect children from future bone problems, heart disease, diabetes and other health issues.
- Exposure to environment-based education significantly increases student performance on tests of their critical thinking skills.
This is a busy time for families, but it’s no time to shy away from the great outdoors. If anything, penciling in time for nature and outdoor play is even more important during this stressful time that will set into motion your family’s routine for the rest of the school year.
Join the fun by completing the #AugustOutside Photo Scavenger Hunt on Social Media. Using twitter, facebook or instagram – share photos of your scavenger hunt finds using the #AugustOutside hashtag. Unlike many “photo a day” challenges, you can snap and share your scavenger hunt finds in no particular order!! Follow me on twitter and instagram as I retweet and repost the participants!