Our all-year Summer weather in Singapore seems to put many parents off from taking their children outdoors. Sadly, the annual haze attacks and recent Zika episodes are keeping more families at home too.
When the conditions are good for stepping out, outdoor play takes children through a myriad of exploration in the most exceptional ways. A child’s learning journey goes beyond the walls of the home or the classrooms – heading outdoors to play brings a wealth of adventure and learning touch-points in multiple ways!
In addition, research notes that outdoor play is important to a child’s wellness. Regular outdoor play aids in building a leaner and fitter child, develop stronger immune systems, increased exploration of creative play, have more active imaginations, reported lower stress levels, and tend to have greater respect for others and themselves.
Parents, if you’re planning to take your children for some fun while incorporating some learning objectives during outdoor play, here are some tips to get you and your family prepared! And, look forward to family bonding time in the natural outdoors too!
1. Do a weather check
Although the weather can be rather unpredictable at times, it helps to check the weather forecast prior to the actual day of outdoor play. Being prepared reduces anxiety and disappointment too.
If you’re planning to go kite-flying at Marina Barrage, a clear sky would be great. But don’t forget to avoid 10am – 2pm, as that’s when Mr. Sun is at his peak. Children’s delicate skin should not be subjected to prolonged exposure to the sun too, so do plan around these timings – read point #7.
However, if the weather is not in favour of the planned activity, that’s where Plan B comes along.
2. Standby with Plan B
It’s always good to have a backup plan, just in case the conditions are not making things click. For example, wet weather, place is closed for maintenance/renovation, a family member is unwell etc.
The family need not sulk the day away in disappointment, so it helps to have Plan B to take care of unforeseen circumstances.
There were times we got really excited for the coming activities lined up for the weekend, and then, BAM! The toddler fell ill. So there, it helps to have other ideas including indoor play too.
Indoor play can open up a child’s mind with different activities! A quiet craft session promises parent-child bonding time together, and the little one gets to create her very own masterpiece :)
Role playing at home can take your child on a new adventure too! And our big sister loves pretending to go on a rowing journey with Barney! A great way to learn about transportation, and perfect for mamas who homeschool but can’t head out that particular day!
While offering alternative activities, explain to them why a certain outdoor play may not be possible that particular day. And, look forward to heading out another day!
3. Dress appropriately
Dressing appropriately for both weather and activity can help make outdoor play a safer and more enjoyable experience. Being in uncomfortable clothes can dampen that fun experience too.
If you’re planning to take your kids to a nature trail like the Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve, Western Adventure Loop or Coney Island Park, make sure both your kids and the adults are wearing covered toe shoes with good support such as sports shoes. Expect plenty of walking, dirt or mud on shoes and perspiration. Dress lightly too – t-shirts, tank tops, shorts are your best bet.
A wet and fun outdoor play lets the kids enjoy some splashing good time! Don’t forget their swimsuits or swimming trunks and take along goggles, float or swimming vest and arm floats too. If your child is new to the water, building water confidence makes a difference with the necessary precautions too.
4. Bring extras
Unless your location of outdoor play is just a stone’s throw away from home, it would be really helpful to take along a change of clothes so that your kids can get out of that perspiration-soaked shirt! It’s not just icky, but also breeds bacteria, and we definitely wouldn’t want that for our children.
Depending on where you are at (outdoor play can mean exploring your neighbourhood too!), where you’ll be heading to after the outdoor play, and whether there’s a place to shower, it helps to plan ahead so that the kids are not spending a full day out in sand-filled or wet clothes.
Some commonly forgotten extras: underwear! Don’t forget to take that along ;)
Take along wet bags to store wet and dirty items. If you’re heading to the beach, baby powder helps dust those sand off their feet too.
5. Hydrate hydrate hydrate
Plain water is our best bet when it comes to hydration. After sweating it all during outdoor play, remember to offer your kids water throughout the day to prevent dehydration, or even heat stroke.
If you’re going on a family picnic, this would already be taken care of. However, other outdoor adventures could do with some fuel up by taking healthy snacks along.
Sandwiches, biscuits, fresh fruits, dried fruits, biscuits, nuts and even packets of milk would come in handy. Those UHT milks are our must-have’s in the bag whenever we’re out with little V! If your child is on formula or breastmilk, do feed them during the course of the outdoor play too.
Depending on where you’re taking your kids to, and the amenities available in that area, most places such as the Gardens by the Bay and Sentosa have cafes and food kiosks, so you can easily pick up some snacks for the family.
7. All round protection
Protect the kids and yourselves, parents!
Don’t forget to take along sunscreen, hand sanitizers, body protectors, mosquito repellents like mosquito patches or sprays, wet wipes and first aid, just in case.
So, what are some things we pack in our bags for a day of outdoor play?
8. Be prepared for unenthusiastic tots
All that planning might be greeted with unexcited faces – don’t take it to heart, the kids might probably not be in the mood for a certain outdoor activity, too young to understand, or not exactly interested in what’s lined up.
If that happens, how about letting your child decide what to do, or where to go? Showing some photos of other kids having fun and enjoy those outdoor activities might help them to understand what to expect during the activity.
Otherwise, this calls for Plan B – read point #2.
Well, playing together can be fun, but not everyone may like it :P Leroy clearly thinks it’s too much of a squeeze in there (don’t worry, adults were watching to look out for safety!), while Vera was happy to row along.
9. Don’t neglect the adults
While the kids are breathing in the natural ions from the outdoors, parents can take some moments to enjoy the same too. No doubt, you might be tired from chasing active kids in the open grassland, it’s also important to bask in the moment with your precious ones and enjoy the present.
And it doesn’t take much to steal a kiss or a hug from your partner while you’re out and about either ;)
P/S: Remember to pack stuff that the adults would need to such as extra clothes or water!
10. Get the kids excited but not way before
I’m sure you know that children can get very excited when something’s about to happen, even if it’s an unknown, new happening.
Build their excitement by telling them, “We are heading to the Singapore Zoo this weekend to see the lions!”, “I wonder how it’s like to be a fire fighter! We can learn about what they do when we go to the Central Fire Station!” or, “I can’t wait to get on that bulldozer myself – do you want to try that with me at the Diggersite tomorrow?”
If you know your child is going to end up like Donkey from Shrek, don’t start telling them wayyyy ahead unless you don’t mind having to repeat your answers non-stop :P
11. Take photos
Get snap-happy or capture those memories on video too, with both outdoor and indoor play! Browsing back on those shots would surely bring back the moments of those days when your kids are soaking in exploratory fun, and learning at the same time!
Indoor play can be fun too! Kids can row row row the boat with the Friso Experiences Play Set. Children 18 months and above are in for a rowing good time! Find out how your child can score his/her own set too!
The playset includes:
- 1 x Friso wooden rocking boat (self-assembly required; takes up to a weight limit of 30kg)
- 1 x Friso limited edition cushion
- 1 x Friso convertible play mat
How to qualify for the Friso Experiences Play Set:
From 1st August to 30th September 2016, every $380 nett spent on Friso participating products* at FairPrice, Cold Storage, Giant, Guardian, Jasons, Market Place, Prime Supermarket, Sheng Siong, Watsons, RedMart or Beautiful.Me, will entitle you to a Friso Experiences Play Set worth^ $368.
*Friso participating products include Frisomum, Griso Gold 2,3 & 4, Friso Gold Rice and Wheat Cereal, exclude all infant formula for 0-6 months. ^ Redemption is on a first-come first-served basis and is while stocks last.
How to redeem the Friso Experiences Play Set:
- Reserve your play set online at http://campaign.friso.com.sg/redemption by 14 October 2016.
- Select a preferred date and time for collection at the ORO Redemption Centre, 61 Ubi Road 1, #01-34, Oxley Buzhub, Singapore 408727.
- A confirmation email will be sent to the registered email upon successful reservation of slot.
- Print and bring the confirmation email along with the original receipts and their NRIC to ORO Redemption Centre to collect their play set.
- The redemption is on a first-come-first served basis while stocks last. To ensure stock availability, customers will have to make an online reservation as soon as possible. All walk-in redemptions without online reservations will not be entertained.
This blog post is in collaboration with Friso. Kids learn from experiences whether big or small, good or bad. That’s why Friso provides the right nutrition for your child to be strong inside to take on challenges. To find out more, visit Friso’s website and follow Friso on Facebook and Instagram. #frisosg #frisoexperience #frisostronginside #frisobaby