Modern psychology has long advocated the importance of play in childhood development. It is a fundamental tool by which children learn and grow emotionally, particularly when the roles are played by a child and his parent. Elements of trust, respect, discipline and nurturing can all be developed when a parent plays with his or her child, and one of the best places for parent/child play to occur is outdoors. Unique elements can be found outside and used in active play, things that cannot be accessed indoors. There are a lot of different outdoor activities for you and your child, the possibilities are endless.
When a parent and his son or daughter engage in an outdoor activity, they are both often getting exercise, a fantastic bonding tool — sweaty foreheads, elevated heart rates and heavy breathing happen in unison, and it is amazing how this can build and strengthen a relationship. Physical activity can generate competitiveness, and the outdoors offers countless places to keep score, to race for a finish line and to perfect form. Depending upon the geography and the climate, there are always various things to use, from hard-packed snow to a sandy beach, for developing one’s relationship with his child.
Warm weather brings with it the opportunity to swim, climb trees, play ball and ride bikes, choosing the ideal toy for your child can take its cue from these activities, as equipment is usually needed. Kids’ bikes, soccer balls and water toys are an integral part of the summer outdoor experience, and the use of these toys provides opportunities for a parent to teach skills while remaining supportive. Showing your child how to throw a frisbee, climb the first two branches of an oak tree, tread water or stay upright on a bicycle generates trust, patience and mutual respect.
In wintertime, the same developments in a parent/child relationship can be fostered as you teach your child about hockey stick flex and how to shoot a hockey puck, show them how to skate backwards, slow down on alpine skis, build an igloo or sculpt the perfect snowman. The parent can be the teacher, and also the student — children learn quickly and may soon skate circles around their parents, eventually offering advice on how to speed up. In particular, building things in the snow encourages creativity and cooperation, an important meeting of the minds across the generation.
Outdoor activities are central in staying healthy they also offer many approaches for the development of that prized relationship between a parent and his child.