Play is essential for children’s healthy development, which means it’s an essential part of every day. As per research 56% of children globally play outside for one hour or less each day. Celebrating and inspiring outdoor learning and play is Outdoor Classroom Day, where thousands of schools around the world take lessons outdoors and prioritize playtime on this day. Action for Children’s Environments or ACE, an NGO and a charitable trust in India, is encouraging teachers, schools and parents across India to take at least one lesson outdoors on Thursday, October 12, 2017, as part of this initiative.
The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights recognizes play as a right of every child and The American Academy of Paediatrics states, “Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being of children and youth”.
- Create a Fun Zone:
To inspire and motivate little ones to play outdoors, we need to create a kid’s friendly space in the field, playground or backyard. Assigning them a designated place to play helps create a sense of belonging and achievement. Give them tools and toys to explore things on their own. A magnifier, binoculars, trowel and buckets would make learning more fun and innovative.
- Arrange Outdoor Playdates:
Think out of the box and arrange interesting playdates for them. Outdoor playdates need not have a well-defined structure. It should be random, spontaneous and all about fun and frolic. A good mix of games, music and lot of physical activity will help build excitement and enthusiasm for them to stay outdoor.
- Walk while you Talk:
Ditch your car next time when you step out for grocery shopping with kids. Take a walk with your little ones to the store and engage them in talking and observing things around. Undoubtedly the best way to bond together, spend some quality time and connect with nature in a healthy way.
- Do it Together:
Parents and teachers are the role models for kids. They look upto them and it makes a huge difference when children find them involved in any activity. Practice before you preach, set an example and make learning more fun. Participating in an outdoor activity like cycling, fishing or camping with kids will certainly be more encouraging for them than pushing them to go out and play.
- Enjoy the seasons:
A change of season? Allow your kids to explore and make the most out of it. Every season has its own outdoor charm. Spring is beautiful. Assist your little ones in planting flowers and seeds. Winters are the best time to bond. Ice skating, playing in snow and camping in sun are the best ways to enjoy the season and connect with nature. Teaching them about environment and nature, by being a part of it is a remarkable learning experience.
Let’s take a step back from the chaotic and hurried lifestyle we all are leading. Action for Children’s Environment or ACE, an NGO and a registered charitable trust is working towards creating safe, healthy, inclusive and resilient living environments, for children and young people. ACE is calling on teachers across India to take at least one lesson outdoors on Thursday, October 12, 2017, as part of the global Outdoor Classroom Day campaign.
The campaign is led by Project Dirt, in partnership with Unilever as part of their Dirt is Good movement.ACE is leading the campaign in India. ACE is a registered charitable trust that works on creating safe, healthy, inclusive and resilient living environments for children and young people.ACE in its drive to reconnect children with the outdoors has involved thousands of schools across the world who are taking part and to date, 2,102,579 children around the globe are a part of this campaign!
Dr. Sudeshna Chatterjee, CEO of ACE Trust said, “We’re calling on teachers, parents and anyone who cares about childhood to get involved in the campaign onOctober 12th, 2017. Whether that’s by taking a class outdoors, encouraging your child’s school to sign up, or helping spread the message far and wide, everyone can do something to make sure children across the country experience the benefits of playing and learning outdoors.”
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Convention on the Rights of the Child. General Assembly Resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989. Available at.
The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds. American Academy of Paediatrics. Available at.