During any season of the year there are many activities
that families can enjoy together in "the great
outdoors". Outdoor time is very healthy for
families - not only is everyone out in the sunshine
and the fresh air, but it is a time to be together
with out the common distractions of television,
telephone, computer etc. This can be a time when
the family members focus on doing something together.
Often, parents ask "What can we plan to do
with our 2 year old at the park or in the yard?"
There are many activities that you can plan such
as a simple picnic, visiting an event at a park
(the Arts Festival for example where they have many
activities for children), a pumpkin patch with fall
activities, etc. However, by far the most valuable
time outdoors with your family is the time you spend
in unstructured relaxed activities. Some suggestions
leaves together and let some rolling, jumping,
and leaf kicking happen.
some holes in the garden. Even you may be
surprised what you find. In my yard this will
immediately lead to creating a rock garden
with all the rocks you discover in the holes!
something. Yes, nearly ALL-preschool children
love to get dirty.
for a walk in the park or woods but be sure
to let the children help decide what kind
of a walk it is. There is nothing worse then
trying to make a preschooler enjoy the walk
you had in mind. They may be more interested
in a stroll or a short run or even walk with
many stops to look at things. Their input
will help make it a relaxing experience, and
will let them know you value their ideas.
some balls around. You can never go wrong
with a variety of balls. Children love it
and can create their own activities to go
along with the ones you enjoy.
with water. Depending on the weather and how
wet you what to get, water squirters, water
balloons, buckets, hoses, etc. are probably
the one most popular activity outdoors.
some chalk drawing on the driveway or sidewalk.
with water on the sidewalk or the side of
a building. It's fun but requires no cleanup!
tents with old sheets or material around play
equipment or trees.
rocks, twigs, leaves, sticks, etc. and examine
of course, provides endless possibilities.
Just be sure to remember that it will need
to be for short periods of time to ensure
the safety and comfort of everyone.
things. Find all kinds of plants and other
things to smell - maybe the wind or sun smells
things in your yard. Can you find smooth,
rough, hard, things?
a neighbor and find out about their newest
outdoor project. A new tree, garden, dog house,
FUN You can get started and have a good time
coming up with your own ideas. Just enjoy
children naturally gravitate towards blocks at playtime.
Blocks are free of pre determined rules of the
right way to play so a child is able to explore
creatively with them. You can pound, build, balance,
count, name, design, share, distribute, crash, and
on and on. Each time blocks are chosen the child
can repeat an activity or begin a completely new
parent or teacher can watch the child at play
and see many skills developing. As the child plays
you can listen to the language he / she is using
and get insight into their language development.
You can also step into their play occasionally
and stimulate this development by adding a sentence
they may not have thought of or used to describe
what they are doing. For example, a young child
may say Big! and you can reemphasize
that idea by saying It is very tall and
narrow. Or It is exciting to see how
tall it is! By extending the childs
own thoughts you help them learn new words or
new ways of combining words.
the block play continues a parent or teacher can
also add cause and effect to the learning experience.
During the play one can suggest questions such
as I wonder what would happen if you moved
that red block? or How could you make
that long block stay on top? There are endless
possibilities including many that will cause a
favorite in block play, the tumbling crash! This
crashing experience is a learning one in several
ways. It is not only the resulting effect many
times, it can also help a child learn that a so
called perfect result, a tower or
rocket, can become a crash that can be fun too!
math concepts are begun with block play. Bigger
than / smaller than, heavier than / lighter than,
balance, area, strength of shape and structure,
are just a few. Through experimenting with building
with blocks, children learn first hand what works
and relationships of size and shape.
play activities, we strive for cooperative play
not competitive play. Blocks are a perfect area
for this to happen. When you work together, you
can create a bigger town, a taller building, a
louder crash, a more involved mousetrap. It is
an activity that can be done while talking about
all sorts of topics. The children can have their
own conversations or an adult can interject ideas
and questions to extend the conversation and the
direction of the exploration.
parents ask what toy they can buy their child
that will be educational and fun, we always suggest
blocks first. There are many varieties, all of
which stimulate so many areas of development at
all different ages. It is the perfect toy choice.
are three common sun related risks that families
need to be aware of during the summer months: sunburn,
heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. The following
is a guide to the prevention and treatment of these
- The childs skin is hot, inflamed, red, and
Prevention Keep children indoors between
10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. If youre out during
those times, try to stay in the shade. If thats
impossible, make sure children over the age of 6
months use sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher*.
Treatment Apply a cool, wet cloth or towel
to the affected areas. Treat the skin very gently,
and keep the child in shady area when outside.
- The child becomes overheated and dehydrated and
develops muscle cramps, dizziness, headaches, and
Prevention Make sure children stay cool and
have plenty to drink outdoors. Bring a large thermos
outside with you so theyll have easy access
Treatment Find a cool place for the child
to sit or lie down, and give him / her fluids
preferably an electrolyte solution such as Pedialyte.
- The child seems drowsy and lethargic, has hot,
dry skin, and in extreme cases may lose consciousness
and stop breathing.
Prevention Make sure children have plenty
to drink, and avoid being outside during the hottest
part of the day.
Treatment Heatstroke is a medical emergency.
Call an ambulance right away, then lay the child
down and try to lower his body temperature. Sponge
him with tepid water; wrap him in a cool, wet sheet;
place a covered ice pack on his forehead; give him
cool drinks; and aim a fan at his body.
a generous amount of sunscreen to any exposed
skin, especially nose and neck and tops of ears
if no hair covers them. If your child is at school
(childcare) during the day, apply a long duration
sunscreen at home in the morning before going
to school. Notify the teachers that sunscreen
has already been applied that day.
Use a SPF of 15 or higher.
Remember: Never apply sunscreen to
children under the age of 6 months or expose them
to direct sunlight.