Author: Ginette Rhodes
Let’s take a moment to celebrate Earth Day by feeling the grass beneath our feet and the warmth of the sun on our faces! Spending time in nature can benefit children’s physical and mental well-being while enhancing social skills. Encourage your children to explore and appreciate their environment by providing access to safe and engaging outdoor spaces, and participating in outdoor activities as a family. Whether it’s a short walk or a weekend camping trip, prioritizing time in nature is a transformative way to connect with Mother Earth and create memorable moments with your loved ones.
4 Benefits of Outdoor Play for Children
1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety: Outdoor play can be a game-changer for children in foster care. It’s a much-needed relief from the stress and anxiety that can come with difficult circumstances. While foster care provides safety and a nurturing environment, it’s crucial to acknowledge the emotional toll it takes on kids. Outdoor play provides an outlet to release pent-up energy and emotions, reducing stress, and promoting mental well-being.
2. Promotes Physical Fitness: Get your kids moving and loving an active lifestyle with outdoor play! Running, jumping, and climbing help develop gross motor skills, strengthen bones and muscles, and boost cardiovascular health. Plus, they can soak up some free vitamin D from the sun! Make outdoor play a daily habit for your child’s physical and mental well-being.
3. Enhances Social Skills: Playing outdoors offers more than just fresh air and sunshine – it’s a chance for kids to develop essential social skills through interaction with others. This is especially crucial for children who have experienced trauma and may struggle with socialization. Outdoor play provides a safe space for kids to build friendships and positive relationships with their peers, which can positively impact their social and emotional well-being. From team sports to group games and nature exploration, outdoor play is an excellent platform for kids to learn and grow socially.
4. Encourages Creativity: Nature sparks creativity and fuels imagination, especially in children! Spending time outdoors gives kids the freedom to explore, create, and play in ways that nurture their creativity. The possibilities are endless, and kids can let their imaginations run wild, developing skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.
Fun ways the entire family can connect with nature in St. Louis!
Saint Louis offers a wealth of outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy. Take advantage of Earth Day activities, hiking trails, lakes, and future greenway projects to connect with nature and embrace the great outdoors. With so many options available, you’re sure to find at least one activity that everyone can participate in and enjoy.
Great Rivers Brickline Greenway: Although still in progress, the Brickline Greenway is a project you undoubtedly want to stay informed about. Can you imagine 20 miles of greenway uniting 17 unique neighborhoods? The Brickline Greenway seeks to accomplish that by interconnecting St. Louis through beautifully placed paths filled with vibrant botanical life and native species plants. Stay updated with the project’s journey and join community forums and activities to ensure your voice is included.
Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park: Creve Coeur Memorial Lake is one of the many hidden gems you can unearth in St. Louis, Missouri. Complete with a beautiful 3-mile walking trail, volleyball nets, pavilions with barbecue pits, kayaking, and sailing, Creve Coeur Lake will delight a family of all ages.
Annie O’ C. Albrecht Nature Playscape: Located in Forest Park, the Annie O’C. Albrecht Nature Playscape is an innovative green space with thoughtfully designed activities, including a Mound, Meadow, Stream, Wetland area, and more stretching across 17 acres of wildlife.
Earth Day 365: Earth Day 365 at Forest Park is an event that brings together individuals, families, and organizations to participate in interactive exhibits, educational workshops, live music, and outdoor activities that highlight the importance of preserving and protecting our planet. This grounding event occurs April 22-23, 2023, at the Muny Grounds in Forest Park from 11 am – 5 pm on both days.
Earth Day Celebration at the Magic House: The event features a range of fun and interactive activities, such as arts and crafts projects using recycled materials, interactive exhibits showcasing the importance of environmental protection, and educational workshops on topics like composting, recycling, and energy conservation. The Earth Day Celebration also includes live music, storytelling, and other entertainment options for children of all ages. The Magic House welcomes Foster Families for free with proof of a current foster home license.