Children sit next to each other on a classroom carpet. One child has her hand extended, thumb raised.

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Paulette Maggiacomo

Paulette Maggiacomo

April 1, 2022

As I travel throughout Indian River County visiting childcare facilities, I am not surprised to find that no matter how large or small, there is always an area for outdoor play. Directors and teachers realize the tremendous impact playing outside has on a child. You can see the joy in each child’s face as they run onto the playground. Can you still remember the happiness you felt a child? Why is that? Children feel an enormous sense of freedom when they are outside.

  • They are able improve their motor skills by running, jumping, throwing/catching a ball. By doing this they strengthen their bodies and become more confident in their capabilities. You may have a future Olympian in your class!

  • Communication skills increase as children play at the kitchen and discuss their recipes, make buildings out of sticks and mulch, tell stories as they play….this where our future chefs, engineers, architects, and authors bloom.

  • Children learn to appreciate the environment as they examine the insects they find, the flowers that bloom, the trees that provide shade….these are our farmers, gardeners, and guardians of the environment.

  • All five of their senses are used….I was outside this morning with our Older One-Year-Old Class and spent time with a girl who was discovering the joy of mulch. She kept rubbing it, enjoying the texture. She was able to sniff the woody smell. She saw different pieces and noticed the similarities as well. She heard the sound it made when she rubbed against the fence. And yes, she did taste it – I kept her safe!

I have often said how lucky we are to live here in Florida – we get to be outside 365 days a year. So go outside with your children and have fun. 

  • Take pictures of objects outside, print, laminate and have your children play I Spy

  • Hunt for treasures; mermaids are always hiding shells and gem stones 

  • Take out those dollar store magnifying glasses to allow them to see the outdoors up close

  • Bring out the water soluble paint and paintbrushes for them to paint on walls, cement, tables, and equipment

  • Bring the bins with soapy water so they can wash outdoor items

  • Keep those Amazon boxes so forts can be built and painted

  • Take out blankets and let the infants have tummy time

  • Using packing tape, secure easel paper on the trunk of trees or on your fence. Use crayons with the paper peeled off, they can rub to see the texture appear

Every time you allow your children the opportunity to go outside they are developing their social, emotional, intellectual, and physical skills. I hope you allow your inner child to come out and have fun too!


Until next time, I wish you well,

Paulette

A row of children hold hands outside.
A young boy examines grass with a magnifying glass.
Preschool children lie in the grass on their backs, forming a circle.