Today’s children may list gaming systems, Snapchat, and other indoor activities. Few kids spend time outdoors these days and the consequences are profound and far reaching. Outdoor child’s play connects children to nature while building strong minds and bodies. Outdoor play allows experimenting and experiencing the natural world – building a life-long foundation for learning and a love of nature. Children that play outdoors are happier, healthier and smarter!
Busy families and children often spend very little time outdoors due to schedules, lack of access to nature, and even anxiety from adults and children about what to do outside. Health problems such as obesity and attention issues, even near-sightedness are on the rise. Time spent outdoors have been found to alleviate these!
So let’s get kids outside to explore and experience nature!
To encourage kids and families to get outdoors, the Indiana Children and Nature Network (ICAN) is introducing Nature Play Days in 2016! ICAN is inviting organizations across the state to hold a Nature Play Day event anytime between June 11 and 19 in their community.
Hosting a Nature Play Day is as easy as picking a date, time and location and then letting your community know about it! The Play Day can be as structured or freeform as you like. Design a new event or schedule an annual program during June 11-19. Hold it in a wooded area or next to a creek. Encourage exploration and child-led activities. Have a scavenger hunt, a mud painting station, play leap frog in the shady grass, gather sticks to make a fort, creek stomp and look for crawdads.
Whether you have a diverse landscape for outdoor activities or a parking lot, there are activities you can share to get kids outdoors! ICAN is here to provide support materials, publicize your event, and share in the fun!
Nature Play Days information is available on the ICAN website, along with a place to register your event. Share your event on social media using the hashtag #ICANNaturePlayDays so others can check out the fun. Encourage churches, hospitals, YMCAs, community groups, and others in your area to partner with you or host their own Nature Play Day! The more the merrier! Activities and games or unstructured nature play are a great way to connect as a family, team, congregation, or class and reap the physical, mental , and emotional benefits of time spent outdoors.
Look on the website for an invitation that you can share with other community organizations. There is also a poster and other materials to download. Look for support resources and training opportunities.
Learn more about Nature Play Days here!