Deepika, Tournesol Kids volunteer

Children are born to play. Playing is fundamental to the way they learn.  The American Academy of Pediatrics states: 

“Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Play offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children. Despite the benefits derived from play for both children and parents, time for free play has been markedly reduced for some children.”

Playfulness is associated with the fun and relaxation of summer. The power of play stimulates imagination, which is essential for an overall health development for your children. As summer is here, slather on some sunscreen and explore & enjoy outdoors with your children with these few ideas.

  1. Growing a garden: Get to a community garden or in your own backyard and start a small garden. Let the children dig the mud, plant the flowers and trees. If you have the space, you can try easy-to-grow crops like lettuce, carrots, peas, and tomatoes.
  2. Hide-n-seek and Catch: Gather a group of your children’s friends and engage them in a game of hide-n-seek or catch.
  3. Go on a scavenger hunt: Organize or sign up for a scavenger hunt with your children.
  4. Nature painting: Gather the sketch books, pencils and paints. Take the children out to a park along with the picnic basket and indulge in a day of painting the nature.
  5. Explore bugs and insects: Go for a long walk and find interesting bugs and insects along the way. If it is possible, try and collect a few and help your children identify the various insects and learn about their role in the ecosystem.
  6. Explore pond life: Drive to the nearest pond and explore the plant and animal life in the water.
  7. Recycle and create:  Head outside with your children and gather few natural and repurposed materials e.g. shells, stones, old metal tins, sticks, leaves.  Allow your children to experiment and create things with these materials.

Remember that not all activities are beneficial for all children. Here too, one size doesn’t fit all kids. The Tournesol Kids #PowerUp Program which is based on this understanding focuses on providing children with simple yet profound ways to engage in play. The program can help parents and educators understand the different play activities they can engage the children in based on their secret power, so that they can achieve healthy cognitive, emotional and physical development.