It’s that time of year again – no, I’m not talking about the post-Halloween week that you spend secretly pilfering your kids’ candy stash… It’s time for the “Every Day a Play Day” challenge.
If you’re not familiar, our pals over at Polarn O. Pyret sponsor this week each year in an effort to encourage parents to get outside with their kids even when it’s not summery warm out. And this year they’re throwing in a big incentive – a $1000 prize pack to one lucky participant.
So why do we all take part in this event every year? Playing outside sparks imagination, improves motor skills and balance, and provides a setting to learn about the natural world. Also, I can tell you first hand that giving your kids regular experience climbing trees, splashing around in puddles, and exploring nature trails provides them with an amazing amount of confidence in their own judgement, leadership skills, and bodies.
78% of parents believe their kids should be outside more, but 61% say weather is a barrier to outside play. So today we’re going to help you out with everything you need to get outside, even in the wet and cold. First, don’t miss our recent guide to appropriate outerwear for the kids: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to Get the Kids Suited Up for Winter Weather.
Once you’re prepared for anything, what are you going to do outside? Here are some suggestions:
- Go on a nature hike to collect leaves, then come home and use them to make autumnal leaf bunting.
- Go puddle jumping and/or dancing in the rain.
- Visit a local park (In colder weather they’re often empty so your kids will have their pick of the playground equipment in their waterproof gear).
- Go on a rainbow walk and find each color in different items in nature, noting how the hues have changed with the seasons.
- Go to the zoo. Again, crowds are significantly thinned this time of year – giving your kids lots of face time with the animals.
- Make outdoor nature sculptures using sticks, leaves, pinecones, and whatever else you can find.
- Make Rain Shadows (Have to be quick for this one. Once you think it’s about to rain, get outside fast!)
- Grab a ball and start playing. Just because it’s not 80 degrees outside, doesn’t mean your kids won’t still enjoy a good game of catch.
- Go bird-watching and record your findings in a nature journal.
- Gather natural materials to use as art materials.
- Play tag.
- Go on a cloud hunt.
- Make leaf piles and jump in them over and over and over again.
- Gather natural materials to use for collages.
Now that you’ve got all the resources you need to meet the challenge, here’s what you do:
- Head outside and play with the kids everyday this week, November 4th – November 10th.
- Tell us about it, share your photos, and win!
Getting impatient to hear about that spectacular prize I mentioned? Here are the details.
Head over to Polarn O. Pyret’s facebook page to enter the sweepstakes. Also, take pictures of your play and post them on facebook and instagram along with #popoutside. Each day, Polarn O. Pyret will choose their favorite photo and use it to help promote the next day’s play day. That person will also be entered an extra time in the sweepstakes.
Good luck and, most importantly, have fun!