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Outside - go outside and have some fun
Posted in , on May 21, 2024

Go outside, have fun and learn

Dr. Jackeline Orsini, Arlington ISD’s director of early childhood learning, has a message for pre-K and kindergarten students – and really every child.

“Go outside!”

It’s spring, and that means it’s time to go outside and play!

“Research has shown that children who play outdoors regularly are happier, healthier and stronger,” Orsini said. “When kids play outside, they get the opportunity to sing, skip, climb, jump and explore the world around them. Being outside and playing gives kids the opportunity to develop their physical, social-emotional, cognitive and language skills.”

Orsini has some suggestions for parents to help make outdoor playtime fun and educational.

Keep it simple

Take a short walk and count or sort objects by color or shape. Go on a scavenger hunt or take a hike. Admire nature, listen to the birds, plant a tree or engage your child in a gardening activity. Integrate literacy by reading a book under a tree or by identifying the first letter, beginning sound or ending sounds of the things that you find. It’s also great to let your child play outside with their favorite toys.

Incorporate other elements

Include water, sand, glitter, rocks, Play-Doh, paint, things from your pantry and other household items to promote sensory play, which is very important in early years.

Anywhere works

Don’t get stressed about finding the perfect location. You don’t have to take your little one to a special place to experience the benefits of outdoor learning. A park close to your home or your backyard should be perfect. Outdoor games and activities are unlimited!

What does your child like?

Recognize your child’s interests and plan for fun activities that will get your little one excited about outdoor play. Does your child like science, arts, sports or nature? These are just some of the areas to consider when planning the perfect outdoor experience for your child.  

Technology free

Put aside distractions and technology devices. This should be a time for you and your child to connect, bond and create beautiful memories.

Be safe

Remind your child of ways to play safely with other children and to follow instructions. Encourage your kids to use play equipment properly (like going feet first down a slide) and to be respectful toward nature. Check your local forecast before going outside. If it’s hot, don’t stay out too long, and use sunscreen often. And don’t forget to have your child wash hands after outdoor activities.

The most important thing is to have fun. Happy spring and summer!

When summer ends

Even though the summer break is just beginning, it’s time to plan for next school year and enroll your little ones in pre-K or kindergarten. Registration is open online now here. And learn more here about Arlington ISD’s pre-K – where outside play is important during the school year, too.