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Wonder Newsletter July/August 2011

July/August 2011
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/wonder-newsletter--july-august-2011/5020097/

The real benefits of nature play every day
by Deanna M. Erickson and Julie Athman Ernst

When watching a child bury her nose in a flower, find a bizarre alien-like insect, or splash in a creek, most of us who care for small children can see value in the wholesome goodness of fresh air and a little time to run around outside. Even the most urban child care facility typically has a small patch of outdoor play space. As children stretch and explore the outdoors, they experience a certain kind of joy that many adults remember feeling as children, as did their parents before them. A sunny afternoon playing outside is an American tradition,
happily experienced and fondly remembered.

But the effort of preparing small children for outdoor play the jackets, the shoes, the bathroom breaks or the risk of a fall, or a sting, or of getting dirty can feel overwhelming, especially when children are of varied ages or when a child care facility is short-handed. Providers in intensively urban areas or low-income neighborhoods face additional challenges like limited access to natural spaces, children who might not be comfortable in the outdoors, or who lack appropriate clothing. They may ...

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