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Outdoor Play

February, 2014

Playing outdoors is an important part of childhood that tends to get over looked with all of the new technology and things going on in everyone's lives. When we were children it seemed like all we did was play outside running around and getting dirty. I have so many memories of my sister and me building forts out of sticks, rocks and dirt piles. We had so much fun doing it we didn't care about what we looked like or what was happening online. We were kids worrying about regular kid stuff. Playing outside can be just as educational and entertaining as all of the electronic devices we have now. Here are a few links from people who also agree it’s time to get kids back outside to play!

In this issue of the Essential Slyde Newsletter:

  • Links to Importance of Playing Outside
  • Information about Playground Safety Week
  • Coloring Page: Keep your Playground Free of Trash
  • Slydetoon: Keep your Park Green
  • Buddy Bench Video
  • Featured Friends of Slyde

The Importance of Playing Outside

Here are a few links to article from others who feel that outdoor play is as important as we do! 

  • Can learning outdoors improve a child’s connection to his environment? Outdoor classes take children out of the classroom and into nature...Keep Reading
  • Playing most games once required leaving the house. You skipped rope outdoors, played tag, kicked the can and shot marbles - none of which was permitted inside your home. You played ball outdoors, ran on outdoor turf and flew kites. If you were a sports spectator, you went to the field or even to an enclosed arena, but at one time you had to leave the house to watch a game...Read More
  • Nature play is child-initiated, unstructured play in “wild” areas, like the vacant lot next door, the neighborhood park, or a wooded area with a stream. Building tree houses, wading in creeks, and catching frogs and butterflies are enjoyable play activities in natural outdoor settings...Keep Reading
  • The loss of green areas in schools is cutting off city children from their only exposure to nature, Sir David Attenborough has warned...Read More

Playground Safety Week

Every now and then there is a whiff of spring in the air, which means playgrounds will soon shift from sled hills and snow forts back to clambering on the slides and swings of local play equipment.  And to celebrate this return to playgrounds is the National Playground Safety Week April 21st -25th.

How can you weave playground safety principles into your curriculum or media plan for Safety Week? Would a school wide campaign to make and follow safety rules and/or accept a challenge to have an injury free Safety Week be a fun kick start for the week?  Could Slyde the Playground Hound help teach and motivate these students? Other ideas might be to have an assembly where classes introduce the safety rules through skits.  An incentive might be to have the students earn a special field day by honoring the safety rules and being injury free that week. 

After a winter of weather challenges all playgrounds need an assessment before the play season begins in earnest.  Using students to assist in assessing playground safety would take some preparation but could yield a sense of responsibility and awareness.  A local class of Slyde Detectives could graduate to become Inspectors of playground safety and lead the yearly assessments. 

Additionally, there could be a local award for outstanding community, teacher, student, or parent contributions. Slyde could award honorary bones at a ceremony concluding or beginning the Safety Week.  At the beginning of the week graduates of a Slyde Safety School could receive official Inspector badges and at the end of the week the new Inspectors could report on how safe the playgrounds are. 

Playgrounds are fun and celebrating safe play can also be fun and rewarding – with a little planning now.  May your National Playground Safety Week bring safe practices and equipment as well as many fond memories.

 By: Jan Neish 

See for more details

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