I am so excited to share with you  Get Outside and Play week.  Get Outside and Play week is an event in Alberta  run by the Environmental Council of Alberta Education that  encourages the whole family to get outside and play.  To celebrate and get ready  for the event  I am writing a series of posts on play.  This blog post is letting YOU  know more about Get Outside and Play Week and how YOU can get involved. Play with your kids outside and win prizes. That sounds like a pretty fun week to me!

Why  get outside and play with your kids?

 

Play provides  physical, social and emotional benefits but is also “important for healthy brain development”¹. It has been proven to be so important to child development that “it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child”¹. Environmental Council of Alberta Education  broke it down to 4 reasons why they are pushing kids to get outside and play:

  1.  Time spent in nature allows children to connect to the natural world and helps them build lifelong environmental stewardship.
  2. Exploring their neighbourhood helps children develop a sense of place and feel part of a safe and welcoming community.
  3.  Children become more active when they play outdoors. These diverse play environments help children learn to move in different ways and increase their physical literacy.
  4.  Outdoor natural areas provide stimulating learning environments that help children learn, sparking their natural curiosity as they explore, question, and experiment.

 

Get Outside and Play Week

 

What is Get Outside and Play Week?

Get Outside and Play Week runs from May 27 – June 3, 2017 and is a province wide celebration of active, outdoor nature play in the early years. Early childhood educators, families and communities are encouraged to take this week to focus on and celebrate outdoor play. Share your activities at getoutsideandplay.ca and be eligible to win great  prizes. Be part of the wider movement and get outside and play with your little ones!
 

Who is putting it on?

The Alberta Council for Environmental Education has been leading the Get Outside and Play Early Childhood Network for two years now and Get Outside and Play week is a program of the network. The  major funding partners for this program are: Mountain Equipment Co-Op, Alberta Conservation Association and Alberta Culture and Tourism.

How to Get Involved

Get involved with Get Outside and Play week by joining one of the community events OR create your own. By registering your family activity, childcare or community event here you are entered to win prizes. There are lots of prizes to be won  including a $50 MEC gift cards!! A full list of prizes and the companies involved is available here: 

Join or Create an event =  Win  Awesome Prizes

Get involved with Get Outside and play week by joining an existing event or create your own.
Join and existing event
Events already in the works  include a Mud Play day at Edworthy park and Stettler Gets Wild. Events are still going to be popping up and will be posted here.
Create your own event
Events can be as big as you want or as small as you like and you can register them to be entered to win some awesome prizes like a $50 MEC gift card!! Some examples include having a picnic at the park with community members or organizing a play date in your backyard! Get Outside and Play week is about keeping it simple but make sure to register your event whether it is private or public here.  Did I mention that you can win prizes by registering your outdoor playdate?!!!

Four steps for planning community events during Get Outside and Play Week:

  1. Keep it simple! See below for ideas and inspiration to help you plan your event.
  2. Invite your friends or create a public event to engage your community. We have promotional materials to help you get the word out.
  3. Share your event plans with us –  public or private, we want to hear about it!  Register your event following the link.
  4. Let us know how it went and we will celebrate and share your successes across the province as we build momentum for more outdoor play in the early years!

Four steps for families to enjoy Get Outside and Play week :

  1. Focus on outdoor play for the week of May 27- June 3.
  2. Share your plans with us and we’ll automatically enter you to win great prizes – everyone who shares their family story will be eligible! Register your public or private event here.
  3. Engage your family and friends – go to an event together, or organize your own!
  4. Let us know how it went and we will celebrate and share your successes across the province as we build momentum for more outdoor play in the early years!

 

More ideas of events to run can be found  here.

 

 Play Sources:

  1. Ginsburg, Kenneth R. (2007, January) The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds.  http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/119/1/182#ref-1

Check out these other great play resources:

Fresh Air Living – Active Kids Club

10  ways to find adventure and activity in your own backyard – Active for  Life

3 ways to create a communal outdoor play space for the kids in your community – Active for Life

 

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