outdoor play

Hey! Where’s the Swings?

“How do you like to go up in a swing… up in the air so blue?” (Robert Lewis Stevenson) I couldn’t even imagine a park without swings as a child. They were my absolute favorite and the first place I’d run when we got to the playground. I can remember back when, as a toddler, […]

“Be Careful!”: Teaching Children to Fear

girl on monkey bars 500x250

How many times do you imagine a child hears an adult say, “Be careful!”? I suspect it’s a close second to them hearing, “No!” And, if it’s a female child, it may be the number-one phrase coming at them, as studies have shown that girls are cautioned far more often than boys. This, of course, […]

Let’s Stop Kidding Ourselves, Active Outdoor Play Matters!

Will we ever be able to stop justifying the value of children’s active outdoor play? I think not. This will be an endless push by Early Childhood professionals, as our society continues its march into a technology-driven lifestyle. I was again reminded of this recently when Rae Pica posted an image of an exercise bike […]

Making the Case for Outdoor Play

Jumping in leaves

Last year I was doing site visits, having been hired to observe PreK to second-grade classrooms and offer suggestions for more active learning. On two different occasions I walked into a room just as the class was scheduled to go outside to recess. But the teachers didn’t feel like going outside – so the kids […]

It’s Better Outside… Seriously!


Summer- a time when the lure of sedentary, screen-focused activities seems irresistible to most kids. And, parents frequently acquiesce due to scary media about what lurks outside the door… sun overexposure, itchy plants and bugs, dirt, and more! But, let’s get real. Of course, we need to take some necessary precautions, like wearing sunscreen and […]

On the Virtues of Not Overscheduling Kids

relaxed kids

I try not to over-schedule my daughter (who just turned six). This is harder than I ever would have imagined. There are so many things she could do, should do, wants to do, and /or could learn from in some way. We are constantly seeking the balance that is right for her and for our […]

Breaking Sticks: Life Lessons From A 2 Year Old


Adam’s little feet were scampering on the sidewalk as only a two-year-old’s feet can as I quickly followed to keep pace with him. As soon as he saw his first stick that day he stopped, picked it up, looked at me excitedly and shouted: “Mam patyk tata!” (I have a stick daddy!). He’s my kind […]

Benefits of Free Play in the Great Outdoors

Carefully arranged found nature items. Children are naturally creative. When given the space and the freedom, they will create their own play situations that can entertain for hours. And, when provided the opportunity to use more open-ended objects, children transform them into imaginative items seamlessly incorporating them into their play. An old cardboard tube becomes […]