What do you remember about your childhood summers? Did you explore the great outdoors?
Build a secret hide-out out of blankets and other found parts? Ride your bike until the sun went down? Collect treasures everywhere you wandered?
The world has changed since we were kids. The city is bigger, housing is different and traffic is worse than ever. Families are always rushing trying to fit it all the scheduled activities in. Unfortunately, today’s generation of children are playing less than ever and it’s affecting their health and wellbeing in a negative way. (Find out more by reading the 2016 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, and International Play Association Canada).
Kids need to play more. Play promotes healthy child development. During play, the child is 'in charge' of what they are thinking and doing. This allows children to think critically and creatively, test and explore boundaries and ideas, negotiate with peers, and make decisions. These are all important life skills.
Children benefit most from play that is child-directed or 'unstructured' and outdoors. Children who play outdoors are more likely to develop physical literacy skills, maintain a healthy weight, have good mental health and meet the new 24 Hour Movement Guidelines. If you’re interested in creative ideas for kids to playing outside, check out this great blog.
This summer, North Vancouver Recreation & Culture (NVRC) and our partners are offering over 15 FREE outdoor play times in North Vancouver parks. The NVRC playtimes are for children of all ages – even those young at heart! Children are welcome to participate in the program independently or with their parent or caregiver. Activities include: fort building, whittling, digging, water play, sports, games, crafts and loose part play. Find out more about the Playground Leaders In The Park service and join us for fun and adventure this summer!
Summer doesn’t last forever. Neither does childhood. Let kids play!