One of my favorite things about owning Spirit Garden Design is that I get to be outside a lot of the time! Whether I’m evaluating a site and determining what features will make the perfect outdoor living space, or simply helping someone learn how to care for the plants in their yard, it’s always a joy for me to be out in nature.
The reasons to go outside extend far beyond just happiness, even though that’s my main motivation. There are all kinds of documented health benefits for both children and adults—such as reducing stress, increasing attention span, promoting social skills, emotional and physical development. Kids who play outside tend to be smarter, happier, more attentive and less anxious than kids who play mostly indoors.
I was fortunate enough to grow up being encouraged to play outside. (I’m not sure if it was for my health and well-being or if my mother simply wanted some peace and quiet. Probably a bit of both.) We played outside all year: Even during long, cold winters in Minnesota, we would make snow angels, build forts, go ice skating, and fly down the hills on our sleds. As I grew older, I would even shovel the walk if that’s what it took to get outside.
My love of the outdoors is as strong today as it was back then—there’s still a whole wide world to explore and enjoy, and plenty of things I haven’t yet seen. But even a walk around the block is great.
It’s easy to get started … just step outside!
I think it’s important for parents and grandparents to encourage kids to put down their devices and go outside, even if it’s for only 15 minutes a day at first. Every week or so, add 5-10 minutes to each day, and before you know it, you might find it hard to get them to come back in!
It’s also important for you to put down your devices and go outside. Not only will you be setting a good example, you’ll get the benefits, too. If you or the kids aren’t big fans of being outside, start slow—you can just walk to the end of the driveway or the block. Or better yet, go to the park and engage with each other; push your kiddo on the swing, catch them at the end of the slide, play tag.
Before you head out (or send the kids out), check the weather forecast and ensure everyone has the proper gear. Whether you’re working or playing, it’s a lot more fun to be outside when you’re warm and dry!
Then, all that’s left to do is take a deep breath and give thanks: For this beautiful planet, for the fact that you’re here, and for your ability to even go outside at all!