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K-12 Assistant Principal
MRS. RATLIFF

Does Playing Outside Make Your Kids Smarter?
 
Everyone knows that playing outside is good for children.  All that fresh air and exercise, what’s not to like?  The truth is, that although the verdict is still out on whether a child’s general intelligence is improved by playing outside, more and more research is linking outdoor play to stronger mental muscle!
 
For as long as I can remember, outdoor play has been a reward: Finish your homework, practice your piano, and then, and only then can you go out and play.  However, research suggests that outdoor play offers such a positive increase in brain power, it should be considered a priority.
 
Interesting Tidbits 
  • Even small doses of interacting with nature “can have an impact on impulse control and gratification delay.”  It’s like a natural ADHD medicine. 
  • Self-direction may be the key to the power of outdoor play.  Allowing children to figure out for themselves what interests them fine-tunes executive thinking.  Parents can give ideas, but “boredom” fosters a special kind of problem solving.
  • Recess is required in grades PK-5 at our school, and unless the weather is especially horrible, teachers are encouraged to take students outside. Just like body builders who need to take a break between weight lifting sessions to achieve maximum results, students need to take a break throughout the day to strengthen their brains!
  • From a personal perspective, when my sons were younger, the things they learned on their own were better internalized than those they were taught or read about.  What better way to learn about density than by tossing sticks and rocks into a stream?
  • Many kids today have less balance in their lives.  They are being rushed, so they’re anxious.  How do you relieve anxiety?  Let them have fun and play!
  • Why Kids Need Nature - http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/parent-child/why-kids-need-nature
  • The Benefit of Nature and the Outdoors to Children and Families – http://parenting247.org/article.cfm?ContentID=3003
 


 
 
Contacts
+ Ratliff, Pamela
Click on name to see details.

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