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No substitute for outdoor play...

When I was a kid, my playground was a huge expanse of sandy area (that's all you get when you grow up in a Gulf country). I remember just running around there with my friends and making new games as we went along. I only visited a proper playground on school picnics or outings with the family, but it didn't matter. I was happy enough climbing the palm tree just outside our house. Now that Little Dude loves doing his own running around, I make sure I give him every opportunity to do it.

This park remains busy well after sunset!
In fact, the best part of my day is going to the park every day with my son. When he was still a baby, we moved into the house we are in now, and my only criteria for choosing one was having a play area close by for Little Dude. Even when he couldn't walk, it gave me a sense of fulfillment to take him out in the fresh air, seeing him smile at the other children. Yes, moving to this place was a great decision! Even more so now, since he loves playing outdoors and the park we live close to is fantastic - complete with an artificial lake, a huge playground, and a bicycling track.

In my opinion, nothing beats outdoor play. I know that children have this in-built attraction to the outdoors. Even if they have so many electronic devices to distract them, take them a nice location outside and you'll find them running around sooner or later. Which is why I think that as parents, it is important to help them develop a connect with sports, outdoor play and nature. It is especially important in big cities like Dubai where greenery is not something you see out your window (unless you're paying a premium for the privilege). The weather here is unforgiving, but even then, I make sure I take that walk to the park even if I have to do it in the late evenings.

Point is, you can engage children in all sorts of creative and skill-building activities, but all-round development only comes from running around aimlessly and playing 'catch' outside. It's about the feeling they get from the wind in their faces, the tingling from going down the slide and the excitement of discovering new things in nature. That's what childhood is about anyway, right?

This post has been linked to Finish The Sentence Friday.


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17 comments

karen said...

great post and so true, Dino loves being outside to walk, run, bike, climb, play, find sticks, etc.... I do need to get him out even more though...

Janine Huldie said...

Totally true and I remember as a kid myself being outdoors all day during the warmer months. My kids at 3 and 4 years old love the playground and go during school hours and then I usually take them before we leave school for about half hour everyday, too. So I couldn't agree more and thank you for linking up with us this week!

GJT said...

Absolutely, I agree! We're big on the outdoors and consider our backyard an extension of our home. When we lived in Denver, that was pretty common for everyone. But now that we're out in the suburbs of Ohio, we rarely see our neighbors and their kids outside, which I just don't get. How great that you have an awesome space near your home! Our kids have very fond and lasting memories of our neighborhood park.

Tarana Khan said...

Don't all kids just love being outside? Thanks for stopping by!

Tarana Khan said...

Glad you feel the same way!

Tarana Khan said...

I would love to have a backyard too, but the good thing about the park is that he gets to be around other children, since we don't do many playdates.

Kristi Campbell said...

Your park looks stunning! We, too, go to the playground each day and it's always part of my favorite time. There's something relaxing about being outside, forgetting about computers and inside-noise.

Tarana Khan said...

Thanks Kristi, I love going out, even for a little while!

naseem said...

So True and so important to give a child the sense of playing in Outdoor and mixing with other Kids...i consider this a very important part of development o kids!!!!!!!

Stephanie Sprenger said...

So true! I love watching my girls play outside- and at ages 2 and 7, outdoor play is one area when they can both enjoy an activity together despite their age difference!

Tarana Khan said...

Thanks, I think it is very important too!

Tarana Khan said...

And for quite some time, it was the only activity around. Now, on the other hand, we have so many age-specific activities, it's confusing!

Sheila Sheila said...

ohaiii neighbor! We go to the park every chance we get!
Especially now that the weather is improving.
Hope to catch you there some time!

Tarana Khan said...

Yes, the weather's so much more bearable, right? Hope to run into you sometime!

Jane Roberts said...

Great post, we must force ourselves outside more because Ethan does love it. We are very lucky that we live very close to nice green areas, this wasn't the case where we used to live x

Tarana Khan said...

You must make the most of it - children really are the happiest when they are outside!

Richa said...

With the weather getting cooler here I so wish to be regular with our park outings...but the pre-planning and shopping ahead of our annual vacation in another week is keeping Little M away from the slides and swings he so enjoys....

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