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SatJan 1

Play Outside Day – January 1, 2022

National Play Outside Day, which is celebrated on the first Saturday of every month, on January 1 next, gives us the chance to switch off from the virtual world and to explore the great outdoors at least once a month. In the age of the internet, we are constantly being bombarded with information left, right, and center. Going outdoors to simply breathe is a rejuvenating break in and of itself. Moreover, we have the opportunity to let our imaginations run free using the natural elements around us instead of being stimulated by the online world. National Play Outside Day is great, especially for kids who the day is geared towards. Get your kids up and going because the outside world is beckoning!

History of Play Outside Day

National Play Outside Day was started in 2011 by Aaron Wiggans and Rhonda D. Abeyta. They’d discussed with friends how children had become so preoccupied with their digital devices that going outside to play wasn’t seen as fun anymore. From games, TV shows, and movies, to social media platforms, the digital era provided kids with “better” hobbies. Wiggans and Abeyta were concerned about the effects that the increased screen time was having on children’s physical and mental wellbeing. That’s when they had the idea to celebrate National Play Outside Day on the first Saturday of every month. The day aimed to highlight the importance of playing outside and how it could benefit those who did it regularly. Apart from delivering a mental boost, it also helps to strengthen immunity, muscles, and bones.

A mere 30% of all kids in America play outside — a stark contrast to the number of kids who would have played outside even 30 years ago. While we do have the digital era to blame for the declining numbers, things like the news media and highly pressurized, busy adult lifestyles have left many feeling cautious about allowing their children to play outside. National Play Outside Day encourages people to let go of their fears and, in a safe/monitored environment, let their kids play freely. You can plan ahead by discussing preferred activities with your kids. It could be hiking, swimming, biking, playing catch and throw, or a number of other things. What is exciting is that the changing seasonal patterns will prompt you and your kids to take part in new activities each month.

Play Outside Day timeline

1886
First Sand Garden in America

After being inspired by German children playing in sand piles, America introduces the first ‘sand garden’ for little children to play in.

1906
Playground Association of America

The Playground Association of America, which helps to build and support outside recreational activities, is formed.

1920s
Outdoor Learning

The outdoors is seen as the perfect place for children to learn new, great things.

2011
National Play Outside Day

Aaron Wiggans and Rhonda D. Abeyta plan and celebrate the first National Play Outside Day.

Play Outside Day FAQs

Why is it good to play outside?

It is good for children to play outside as it can help them develop and enhance features related to their body mass index, motor skills, muscle/bone strength, and overall health. Playing outside also encourages children to continue their active lifestyle once they become adults.

What does ‘play outside’ mean?

Playing outside means doing a fun activity outdoors. The activity could be a sport, an exercise, or anything else that involves playing.

What is the best way to play outside?

There’s no hard and fast rule on the ‘best’ way to play outside. The most important thing is to have fun. Here are some activities that you could do: play hide-and-seek, catch-throw, and tag, fly a kite, or learn about nature by exploring the outdoors.

Play Outside Day Activities

  1. Do your own thing

    Go and explore the outside world. According to your local area, this could be a hiking trail or going for a run in the park. If you or your kid’s idea of fun is just ‘being’ outdoors and doing nothing but taking in nature, then that’s okay too.

  2. Plan with your kids for more fun

    Get the kids excited by planning activities with them. Make them feel important and heard by asking them what they would like to do. The more involved they are, the more excited they will be, and the more fun they will have.

  3. Go on trips

    A great way to utilize the first Saturday of every month is to plan short trips. These trips could range from having a barbeque up in the mountains or spending time in nature by enjoying a little picnic by the beach or lake. The great thing is that you will still have the Sunday to laze around and recover if the trip was an energetic one.

5 Facts About Playing Outside That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Better motor skills

    When children are outside, they are running, crawling, jumping, and catching/throwing, all of which work to improve and better their motor skills.

  2. Better body mass index numbers

    Children who play outside are less likely to develop obesity as they are constantly using their energy to stay active whilst playing.

  3. Sunlight improves one’s mood

    Having a balanced exposure to sunlight can help kids with boosting their overall mood and immune systems.

  4. Social development

    Kids interacting with other kids allows for the development of social skills, which will come in handy in the future.

  5. Great sensory skills

    Playing outside engages all of one’s senses, from taste, touch, and smell, to hearing and vision.

Why We Love Play Outside Day

  1. It’s a celebration of nature

    Playing outside provides unique fun and enjoyment. You are enjoying nature to the fullest, taking in the sky, the earth, the water, and the air, as well as the beautiful creatures that are thriving. It’s a great learning environment, which allows you to appreciate our planet more.

  2. There are many health benefits

    There’s nothing better than having a healthy body and mind, and playing outside can help children achieve that. Physical exercise in the shape of running, catch/throw, and jumping will aid children in refining their motor skills as they strengthen their overall body. Their mental health will improve thanks to the stimulation taking place in the natural environment.

  3. It promotes social/emotional development

    One of the most important skills in life is to be able to have social and emotional intelligence when dealing with others. The playground develops these skills immensely. Children build social skills through interacting with their playmates.

Play Outside Day dates

YearDateDay
2021November 6Saturday
2021December 4Saturday
2022January 1Saturday
2022February 5Saturday
2022March 5Saturday
2022April 2Saturday
2022May 7Saturday

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