Some of my family’s best memories came from time spent outdoors. Whether it’s taking a walk on a nature study, hiking a trail in Utah, discovering a new park near our house or collecting seashells on a sunny San Diego beach, there’s something about being outdoors that nothing else can rival.
It usually goes without saying that children should be free to play, explore and discover outdoors. Time outside proves to be one of the most critical components of childhood.
Studies show that time outdoors reduces children’s stress. Time spent outdoors also improves cognitive, physical and mental development. There is something about shooting some hoops, picking flowers or playing hopscotch on the sidewalk that simply cannot be replicated indoors. So, when I enthusiastically tell my kids to go play outside for the hundredth time, I know that science is on my side.
Of course, we also know that too much time spent indoors or using electronics is neither productive nor helpful. In fact, studies show these choices are actually causing harm to our kids. So, now I don’t feel so bad about shutting down my kids’ video game play. Bye-bye, Minecraft.
Then, consider children who are facing medical challenges, children who find themselves in a hospital bed wishing they could go out and play.
Over the years, I have followed and have given financial support to families facing childhood cancer. My kids have seen this and, in the gentle and kind spirit of a child, have asked why these other children are sick.
Those big questions require big answers. But beyond that, there are simple, everyday ways to show support and love to those who need it.
The BIG Outside
Imagine a space at a children’s hospital where kids can play, jump, run, explore and escape the hospital walls, even if only for a while. That’s why I was so excited to discover the BIG Outside, Cardon Children’s Medical Center’s plan to build such a space.
They hope to create a multi-functioning place families can use for everything from morning yoga classes to physical therapy sessions. They want to create an outdoor space that could help unlock healing and health for many children.
Because, at the end of the day, families should have the chance to play tag, sit in a quiet garden or do cartwheels in the grass. Medical issues shouldn’t restrict them.
As parents we desire to make meaningful and lasting memories with our children. With the BIG Outside, now more families can do just that.