As the summer months draw to a close, nothing pleases people more than making the most of their last summer hurrah outdoors – most especially children. However, with the sudden surge of COVID-19 delta variant affecting the more vulnerable population, families may want to brush up on their safety measures and consider ways to mitigate risks and help protect their loved ones.

According to recent data, cases among children have spiked by 31% from the 72,000 initial tally weeks earlier. Moreover, with the possibility of another year of remote learning, parents and guardians need to assume greater responsibility towards their child’s education and development. This is when family activities come in handy.

It is important to note that play is beneficial for every family member because it strengthens the interpersonal ties that a child needs to be happy. Furthermore, when families share a moment of happiness and interaction through play, it helps regulate the brain’s emotional states and reactions, resulting in better stress management.

In addition, active play helps promote growth and development, as it helps compensate for the lost academic time due to the current global health crisis. However, it should not be limited to playing alone. These activities should include decision-making, active participation, and enjoyment.

Basic learning through play

Commonly cultivated in schools, cognitive skills such as counting, identifying, memorizing, and literacy are critical for a child’s educational achievement. However, without a proper venue for learning, researchers found that most of these can still be achieved by incorporating play in children’s education.

For example, kids who play with games involving numbers, sequences, and counting tend to have a higher level of mathematical understanding and enthusiasm. Furthermore, youngsters who can explore and engage with various daily objects are more likely to learn new words. Toys help kids understand stories and learn new words and ideas better.

Therefore, guardians need to give them the right avenue and chance to play to improve their vocabulary and literacy skills later on while waiting for a safer time to go back to school.

father and son building a birdhouse

Safe development for children

Kids prefer working on tasks they deem to be enjoyable or entertaining. This means that they can better understand the connection between their feelings and their activities if they have fun. They will learn to deal with their frustrations as well. Since younger children have a shorter attention span, giving them the freedom to choose will improve their concentration on tasks that needed their complete attention.

In addition, playing pretend plays a vital role in enhancing one’s abilities and can be highly significant in developing kids’ social, attentive, and empathetic skills. A summer of lockdown and uncertainties provides an opportunity for youngsters to invest more time in these fun and engaging exercises, either with their parents or alone.

Nature’s advantage in learning

Being active outdoors throughout warmer months is helpful for children and adults alike. Every outdoor space introduces a whole new set of interactive experiences, along with an entirely new way to discover the world around you, like living creatures, ventilation, vegetation, and a refreshing clear blue sky. The great outdoors is a place where kids can exercise their bodies and maintain their health by playing games outside. In addition, spending time with nature replenishes our skills to understand clearly, elevates concentration, and decreases anxiety.

However, with the growing threat to public health, we must find ways to meet that expectation while ensuring the safety of our kids. While trips to public parks, camping, and beaches may be off the table, for the time being, activities in and around your outdoor living space are your best option. For example, hot afternoons are your best time to bring your lawn sprinkler out for your children’s cool-down enjoyment.

Make it more fun by throwing in a scavenger hunt and preparing some of their favorite food and drinks as they enjoy their time in your backyard swimming pool. For added protection, consider installing a sturdy black aluminum pool fence and cover the waters adequately afterward to avoid any accidents, especially when you are not around to supervise. If you have older children, go for a stroll, bike ride, or drive them around less crowded places in your community.

You can also treat this as your once-a-week gadget-free day by engaging in a parent-child conversation to better your relationship or give them car ride games to learn new things and keep them occupied.

Playing is more than just a way to fight boredom. It has numerous advantages for children, their parents, and adults alike. When you carve out time to engage in enjoyable activities, these can help relieve stress and teach each one the importance of having fun and its link to healthier living.

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