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In your response, evaluate what your peer had to say about the strategies they would implement outdoor play in their work with children. What can they add to their activities or strategies to foster more group participation? Ask your classmate questions that may cause them to re-evaluate or add components to their initial responses. 5 sentences.
There is an abundant amount of documentation outlining play’s impact on the development of children. Despite this knowledge, outdoor play’s popularity with children has been on the decline in recent years. The rise of technology is a major contributor for this negative trend. Unfortunately, as children abandon outside play they run the risk of stunting certain physical and developmental benefits that are associated with playing outdoors. Per the text, the most commonly accepted benefit of outdoor play in children is the physical exercise element of the activity (Frost, Wortham & Reifel, 2011). The rise of childhood obesity has coincided with children gravitating toward sedentary entertainment. To combat this trend, educator’s need to implement and encourage outside play. Children who engage in outside play tend to fall in a healthier weight range than their sedentary peers. Another benefit of participating in outdoor play is the acquisition of Vitamin D. Prevention of future health issues such as diabetes or heart disease have been linked with receiving appropriate levels of vitamin D (Magher, 2015). In addition to the physical benefits of outdoor play, there are also important social benefits (Frost, Wortham & Reifel, 2011). Play that is implemented outside typically involves children interacting with each other. This interaction positively affects their emotional and social development.
When I worked with children in a large youth program the physical development activity that was consistently popular was creating and participating in obstacle courses. The creation aspect of obstacle courses with materials that were on hand sparked enthusiasm and imagination with the children. The comradery helped their social and emotional development and the construction benefited them cognitively. Upon completion of the obstacle course, the children enthusiastically engaged in physical activity as they navigated their way through the obstacles. The calories that are burned in activities such as this go along ways in the fight against obesity in children.
Additionally, outdoor activities, collaborative games and explorative interactions are also a great way for children to combat social isolation. As such, children that are experiencing isolation tend to lack in the desire to play with others. This issue arises from infancy and toddlerhood, from recurring isolated instances and the lack of loving and caring family members and guardians. Not only does isolation leave a lasting impact on a child’s social development, it may also cause the child to have severe milestone delays, to include language and speech (Moutria, 2017). A great way that the elementary schools in my community help to combat this issue is with the use of a buddy bench. Teacher’s and children worked together to decorate wooden benches with vibrant colors and positive images and phrases. The benches are placed strategically around the playground areas, and when a child is feeling lonely or does not have someone to play with they go and sit on the buddy bench. The idea is that other children will see their peer sitting alone on the buddy bench, approach them and ask them if they would like to play or include them in conversation. This suggestion is something that I would like to implement into my program when I become director.
Frost, J., Wortham, S., & Reifel, S. (2011). Play and child development. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice-Hall.
Magher, M. (2015, May 24). The benefits of outdoor play for children. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/141891-the-benefits-outdoor-play-children/ (Links to an external site.)
Moutria, K. (2017, June 13). The effects of isolation on a child’s social development. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/1004775-effects-isolation-childs-social-development/ (Links to an external site.)
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