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May is National Foster Care Month

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May is National Foster Care Month. This month is set aside to recognize the individuals and families who give their time, their resources and their homes to children who are going through the most difficult times of their life.

Foster Parents

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Open your home to foster children

Most people would have a difficult time letting a stranger in their home to shower, sleep and eat. It would be the equivalent of picking up a homeless person and taking them home. You know nothing about this person except what you can see and perhaps what they have told you.

For foster parents, the person is a child. This child may have severe mental or physical trauma that is not apparent to the naked eye. Emotional damage may be hidden under layers of disdain, hatred and aloofness. Now imagine that you open your home, your family and your heart to this child. Is that hard to imagine? That is what foster families do every day. It is all about placing your fears and doubts aside to meet the needs of a child who has nobody else to turn to.

National Foster Care Month

May is the time to bring awareness to foster care. Foster parents are honored during this month. The need for more families to volunteer is brought to the forefront of the public eye. The needs of the foster care families are recognized. Resources are introduced to help meet the needs. After all, foster care is more than just opening your home up to a child in need. Foster care awareness is critical to help families and communities meet the needs of the children and the families that care for them.

Where to Find Help

Many people caring for children do not know that there are resources available to help them. Respite babysitting services, community clothing closets, support groups and even activities and sports programs for the children are all in place to help families foster these children. However, the problem is that not all families know about the resources available. During May, resources of all kinds are brought to the forefront in an attempt to help families caring for foster children.

Grandparents, aunts and uncles are often kinship caregivers. This means that they have assumed the role of caregiver since the parents of the child are not an option. Often, this causes a change in family dynamics. An adult child may resent the grandparent becoming the primary caregiver of their child. Maybe a grandparent does not know what to do about things like medical care, legal issues with the school, etc. Resources like

The Grandkin Guide can help grandparents to navigate the legal system, family issues and the new role of caregiver.

Such resources are critical to helping foster care families cope with the changes that come from having a new child in the home. Online resources, support groups, financial aid and more can all be beneficial for the care of foster children. Whether kinship care is decided between family members or set up by child welfare services, there is no reason to feel alone and adrift in this new circumstance. Help is available.

Why is Public Awareness so Important?

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Get educated about foster care

Foster care is often shown in a negative light. News stories of tragedies, rumors of greed and horror stories from former foster children get the spotlight, while great foster successes go unheralded.

Care of these children must be brought to the public in a positive light. People will remember success stories of foster children who went on to college and beyond. Foster parents who go above and beyond to help children find their passions, like painting or horseback riding, should be highlighted and commended. The children should have their success stories shared, just like in a traditional family. These children can thrive if the parents have the resources available to help them. Even severe mental and physical abuse of the past can be overcome with love and support from foster parents who really care.

Foster care takes a whole community to be successful. Outreach groups, support groups, legal and financial help, respite caregivers, teachers, child welfare advocates – everyone must work hand-in-hand with the foster caregivers to ensure these children are protected, loved and given the chance for a successful, happy life.

Use May as the month to educate yourself about the foster care system and how you and your community can help these families. A community picnic, a toy or clothing drive, volunteering your time or even offering your talents (like free piano lessons) – there are plenty of ways you can help with foster care. The keyword is ‘care’.

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11 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten

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I remember those days when I couldn’t believe all the hype I heard about how to prepare your child for Kindergarten. After all, this is not first grade, my friends! I only wish I knew then what I know now. I’ve now discovered eleven ways you can prepare your child while having fun along the way.

Listening Skills

With all there is to absorb, it’s natural to repeat instructions to Kindergartners numerous times. You can prepare your child for Kindergarten readiness by giving simple, three step directions. For example, ask your child to put up toys, wash hands, and then come to the dinner table. Also, teach your little one what interruptions are, and model this as a parent. Your child’s teacher will thank you!

Sharing

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Teach your child to share

Socialization and play are important kindergarten readiness activities, and having to share with a large group may be a new challenge for your child. If you haven’t already, participate in playgroups, set playdates, or join children groups to let them experience taking turns with others.

Standing in Line

Although this seems like a simple task, it’s sometimes a challenge. Explain the difference between behind and beside by walking with your child and demonstrating how to stay in line. Behind and beside are also prepositions students will learn during Kindergarten, so you’ll be getting two for one!

Critical Thinking

Developing critical thinking skills in children should start at an early age. The earlier your child learns these skills , the more natural this way of thinking will become. By explaining cause and effect, predicting, and justifying, your child will be ahead of the game. Here are some critical thinking activities you can implement at home:

  • While reading, have your child infer what is happening by looking for clues, ask why a character is acting a particular way, and suggest creating another ending to the story.
  • Take a walk outside to discuss cause and effect, because it’s all around us in nature. For example, because it’s spring, the flowers are blooming. Go a step further by asking a prediction about what will happen when winter rolls around again.
  • Ask your child whether something is a good or bad idea, and have him or her justify with supporting details.

Critical thinking skills are highly encouraged at Tucson preschools. For additional critical thinking ideas, click here. You can learn even more about how to develop these skills in children by clicking here.

Reading Aloud

Take a trip to the library to locate good literature, or check online for suggested book titles. Teach your child about the cover, title, author, illustrator, and read to them fluently. Also, make inferences, predictions, and connections together to incorporate more critical thinking.

ABCs

In addition to learning the alphabet song, have fun using magnetic letters, dry erase markers, sand writing, finger painting letters. The more hands-on, the better!

Letter Sounds

In addition to identifying letters, start teaching the sounds of vowels and consonants. To help your child learn short and long sounds at home, use flash cards or explore educational websites.

Picture Clues

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Teach your child to read

This can’t be emphasized enough for little ones! While reading aloud to your child, search for clues that match the words read. Does the word make sense when you look at the picture? This is a necessary strategy that early readers will need to learn.

Counting

Have fun using jelly beans, candy, or cereal as manipulative tools to teach your child how to count. Add or remove to teach addition and subtraction, and divide into colors to teach sorting.

Shapes Around Us

Make it relevant! Take a walk around your home to identify shapes of furniture and other items. Next, compare and identify things in nature by walking around outside to discover a wide variety of shapes.

Responsibility

Finally, as much as we may want to hover over our precious children, teaching them to accept responsibility should begin now. Let them help you at home, provide routine and structure, and teach consequences. This will help your child develop a since of responsibility for their own actions.

Critical thinking activities for preschoolers are highly encouraged to help make your child’s first school year a successful one. At Tuscan preschool, there are creative opportunities that develop critical thinking skills in children and serve as stepping stones for Kindergarten readiness. Please contact us to explore our engaging learning programs that will prepare your child for Kindergarten!

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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month: Take Action!

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What is NCAPM All About?

April of 2017 marks the 34th year of National Child Abuse Prevention Month (NCAPM), a time dedicated to raising awareness of this devastating social issue and ending child abuse once and for all.

Since 1983, this month has been a time for communities to have a dialogue about the ways to not only stop the abuse of children, but providing education and resources for families and young adults to make sure that the abuse and neglect of children doesn’t carry on for even one more generation.

What the Statistics Say (And What they Don’t Say)

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Cases of abuse are still high

Are the numbers of abuse victims still high enough to warrant a month of awareness and advocacy? Sadly, the answer remains an absolute “yes”.

Despite what you might think, America still has a huge abuse and neglect problem. Current statistics report a staggering 3 million children a year who deal with some form of abuse. Sadly, these are just the cases that are reported; we will likely never know the true statistics.

This is one of the worst rates of abuse in any industrialized nation. The time has come to say, “Enough!” We can do better, which is why each April we renew our promise to the children of America.

Time Can’t Heal All Wounds: Ongoing Symptoms of Abuse

Abuse would be bad enough if the hurting ended with sores and bruises, but abuse creates many scars that do not manifest until later in life (often manifesting in dangerously rebellious teenage or young adult behavior).

Over time, the young victims of abuse may also be affected by the following issues:

  • Increased tendency towards drug and alcohol abuse
  • Serious depression, including suicide attempts
  • Higher instances of “risk-seeking” behavior, such as multiple sexual partners, and other unsafe sexual practices
  • An almost 80% instance of some type of psychological disorder

The list of effects is startling, but what is most unacceptable are the nearly 1,600 children who died as a result of abuse last year. Until that number reaches zero, the NCAPM will advocate and raise awareness of these issues affecting countless American families.

History of the NCAPM

Did you know that the first specific laws regarding child abuse were only signed in 1974? While we’ve certainly come a long way since then, there is still a social stigma and problem of reportage and awareness that we need to deal with as a nation.

What started as a single week of awareness in 1982 became a full-fledged month of action starting in 1983, and the events and actions have inspired the creation of new laws and statutes that aim to eliminate harm to innocent and vulnerable children.

Whether in your own community, online, or by joining a larger march or event somewhere near you, you can become part of the NCAPM’s history this April–don’t wait until next year.

Ideas to Get Involved

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Participate in abuse prevention

There are many ways you can participate in this nationwide awareness month. Activities can be simple:

  • Organizing a block party or “meet and greet” with your neighbors
  • Attending parent meetings at your children’s school
  • Finding city or government-organized events for NCAPM

Or, you can organize with other parents and local families to put on bigger events, such as:

  • Running for local office or a PTA board
  • Attending and speaking at local government meetings (such as city council)
  • Organizing letter-writing campaigns and petitions

Keep in mind, these are just a few ideas. Be creative and think about new and interesting ways that you can help children and families who have been affected by neglect and/or abuse.

Moving Our Communities and Families Forward

Whether you visit the official NCAPM website (provided by the government’s Child Welfare Agency) or you find local events to raise awareness, the important thing is to get involved. It’s also important to remember that April is only the beginning–staying vigilant and engaged in your family and community throughout the year is the best defense we have against future abuse and neglect.

For too long, the victims and families who have suffered from abuse and neglect have been silent. April is a time for these voices to be heard, loud and clear. Now is the time–take a stand against abuse and neglect!

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How to Develop Your Child’s Critical Thinking Skills

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Young children are like sponges during the early years of life, and it is a great time to develop critical thinking skills. They have a greater capacity to learn and grow before age six than at almost any other time in their development. Taking advantage of this stage sets kids up for future academic and professional success. The first five years of learning create a mental foundation for children to build from. There are many ways to enhance a child’s ability to think, solve problems and foster curiosity and creativity.

At What Age Does Critical Thinking Develop

SoCritical thinking activities for preschoolers | The Apple Tree Learning Centers in Tucson me parents may believe that critical thinking, reasoning and problems solving is for older kids. The foundation that allows older kids to do this begins in early childhood. Critical thinking is the ability to think about a problem logically, try various solutions and see what works and what doesn’t. A big part of critical thinking as answering the why question. You may have noticed that your preschool children are often asking why. They have insatiable curiosity, and they want to know why things work. They may not be solving word problems in math, but they are developing critical thinking.

Proper brain development in early childhood supports critical thinking. There are many aspects to developing critical thinking skills in children. This includes proper nutrition and sleep as well as putting them in a proper academic environment and giving them an attitude focused on success.
The skills related to thinking are in many ways even more important than particular academic skills. Your child will have plenty of opportunities to learn academic skills. How quickly and easily they learn those later skills depends on their ability to think, reason and process new information. Success in school also depends on a learning-centered attitude. Children who have no fear of new situations or information thrive in school and remain hungry for knowledge. The foundation for this success is created in early childhood.

The Importance of Preschool

Preschool programs offer the right environment for children to develop these skills. A professional preschool environment provides many critical thinking activities for preschoolers. This can include puzzles and games and opportunities to explore new places. When a child already has experience tackling new things with success, they won’t be intimidated by kindergarten. This foundation allows them to focus more on the academics presented in modern kindergarten classes.

Interacting socially is very important for young children, and it goes together with critical thinking. The ability to think critically about how other people act and how to act correctly with them is vital. Preschool gives kids the chance to do this before they enter kindergarten.

How to Improve the Thinking Skills of a Child

How to improve the critical thinking skills of a child | The Apple Tree Learning Centers in Tucson Thinking skills begin with curiosity. This is something young children have in abundance. They have a greater appetite to explore and test their environment than at any other time. Curiosity naturally brings up questions and the desire for answers. How children go about this process of asking questions and getting answers affects the development of their critical thinking skills.

You may believe that this process happens naturally. Put a child in the right environment and they will go about this discovery process on their own. This is true in part, but adults play an important role. A parent or teacher serves as an important guide for young children. Rather than giving children answers, the adult can direct them to the answer and encourage their exploration. The adult can also ask questions the child may not think of as a way to prompt their discovery. An adult can help a child understand what they have found and analyze it.

A big part of analyzing is classifying and organizing. As a young child explores, an adult can help them identify and categorize what they are finding. For example, they may be wondering what lives under a rock.

Instead of telling them, the adult encourages them to go outside and turn over some rocks. They turn over a rock and observe what they find. They may not be able to identify all the creatures, so an adult steps in gives them names and types. These are the insects or these are worms, for example. This is much more powerful than just telling the child that bugs and worms live under rocks.

Finding the right learning environment is important for your child’s success. A professional Tucson preschool provides the right opportunities and professional staff. They understand how to improve an early learner’s critical thinking skills. You may contact us for information about enrollment and the programs and services we offer to children. There has never been a better time to consider preschool for your child.

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It’s National Kidney Disease Month. Read These Tips for Better Kidney Health

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Your kidneys are very important organs in your body. Taking proper care of them will help you live better and longer. Many people don’t understand kidney disease or how to prevent it. For National Kidney Disease Month, you can learn how to better care for your kidneys and prevent disease.

Get Tested

kidney | The Apple Tree Learning Centers Kidney failure is a slow and progressive disease that usually has no noticeable symptoms. Kidney disease awareness is important. Unless your kidneys have been injured in an accident, you may not know you have kidney disease without medical testing. Your doctor can perform a few types of tests to determine kidney function. These are usually blood tests or urine tests.

The blood test for kidney function is called glomular filtration rate or GFR. This measures the amount of creatine in your blood. Creatine is a waste product produced by working muscles. Your kidneys are responsible for filtering this waste from the blood. If the kidneys are not working properly, this acid will build up to unsafe levels in the blood stream.

The urine test for kidney function is called albumin-to-creatine ratio or ACR. The urine is tested for the protein albumin. This protein that should not be found in urine. If the test is positive, it indicates your kidneys are not functioning as well as they should.
There are five stages of disease that lead to kidney failure. There is no way to correct full kidney failure, so it is a life-threatening disease. The best option for a person in the advanced stages is a kidney transplant. Health can be maintained with dialysis, but this does not heal the kidneys.

Diabetes and Sugar

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of kidney failure. When you have diabetes, your body has trouble maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Your kidneys are responsible for filtering your blood, so when you have high blood sugar your kidneys are under a lot of pressure to balance your system. They eventually become overloaded and begin to fail.

There are many things that may contribute to developing diabetes. Sometimes the disease is genetic, and there isn’t much you can do about that. Most diabetes, however, is brought on by a poor diet. Excess sugar in the diet is one of the leading causes of diabetes. It is important to avoid excess sugar. The American Heart Association recommends that children consume no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day. This is also a good rule for adults to follow. Diabetes can affect a person of any age. The sooner you take steps to avoid it, the healthier your kidneys will be.

Salt and Blood Pressure

Blood pressure also has a major impact on kidney function. When blood pressure is high, more blood is forced through the sensitive tissues of the kidney faster. Over time, this may damage the kidney tissue that filters the blood. This tissue is very difficult to heal once damaged.

Too much sodium in the diet contributes to high blood pressure. Salt may also pose a danger to the kidneys directly. Sometimes minerals like sodium will harden in the kidneys. The result is a kidney stone. The kidney eventually forces the stone through the kidney tissue. The process is very painful. It may also damage the kidney tissue, which reduces function. The damage caused by passing a kidney stone often does not heal. A scar will form that is never able to filter any blood.
You do not have to eliminate all salt from your diet, but you should keep it to a healthy level. This means not adding salt to most foods and avoiding processed foods already high in salt. You can help balance sodium levels by also getting plenty of potassium from food and drinking plenty of water each day.

Drinking Too Much

too much alcohol | The Apple Tree Learning Centers Your kidneys are responsible for getting toxic substances out of your blood stream. Alcohol is highly toxic to the body, so your kidneys work extra hard to get rid of it. When you drink too much, you put strain on your kidneys and may damage them.

Alcohol also dehydrates you. Your kidneys’ other job is to maintain the right balance of water in your body. Consuming alcohol can make this job much more difficult. Over time, this may result in lost kidney function.
It is important to know how much is too much. Three drinks or less per day is considered safe for your body and is unlikely to cause serious problems.

Your diet has a lot to do with your kidney health. By maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding alcohol and smoking and choosing healthy foods most of the time, you can keep both your kidneys functioning for your entire life. Many of the conditions that lead to kidney disease are preventable.

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Good Nutrition Made Simple: What to Remember During National Nutrition Month

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If you feel like you’ve fallen off the healthy habit bandwagon, you’re in luck. March is National Nutrition Month, so it is the perfect time to tackle that health commitment you made at the beginning of the year with renewed energy.

You may be wondering why we celebrate nutrition month and how it can help you get back on track. It’s simple really. Nutrition Month is a time set aside to focus on the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating and exercise habits.

This year the National Nutrition Month theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” So instead of feeling like you have to change everything at once, you can start small, with just one fork at a time. Whether your eating habits involve preparing meals at home or making choices while eating out, it’s important to develop a way of eating that is sustainable.

Are you ready to join the movement? Then here are a few effective ways you can start putting your best fork forward.

  1. Eat a balanced, varied diet.

    balanced diet | The Apple Tree Learning CentersEating a variety of nutrient dense foods across all of the food groups reduces your risk of many preventable and primarily lifestyle-based chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Work to incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats into your daily diet.

  2. Choose lighter options while dining out.

    Finding healthy options at restaurants is now easier than it ever has been. Most restaurant chains offer lighter, healthier choices. As you peruse the menu, look for options that are steamed or roasted. Likewise, ask for sauces, dressing, and cheese on the side, and control your own portions by asking for a to-go box and putting half of your meal in the box.

  3. Set a good example for children.

If you have children, you know how quickly they pick up on things. That is why it is especially important to model good eating habits for children. This modeling begins in the kitchen. Inviting your child into the kitchen to participate in age-appropriate cooking tasks is a fun way to get young ones involved. Serving balanced meals and making the time to enjoy dinner together is also important to help your family build healthy, mindful eating habits.

  1. Eat breakfast every day.

Breakfast is one of the most frequently skipped meals by everyone, but it’s also one of the most important. Breakfast helps get your metabolism going and sets the tone for your eating all day long. If you really don’t have time for breakfast, then at least grab a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts to give you a good mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.

  1. Drink more water.

drinking water | The Apple Tree Learning Centers Water is another essential to a healthy lifestyle. Your body uses water for nearly ever metabolic process it completes. If you have a hard time drinking enough water, try keeping a water bottle with you all day, using a simple tracking system, or flavoring your water with a few pieces of fresh fruit. Try to drink at least half your weight in ounces of water each day.

  1. Adopt the “one more” mentality.

It can be tough to completely overhaul the way you eat all at once. Instead of trying to do it that way, focus on getting in just “one more” healthy food choice each day. If you struggle with veggies the most, work on fitting in one more serving each day. Then once you have that mastered, move on to another healthy habit. Doing a little at a time will make the process much easier and help you stick with it.

If you really want to make your celebration of this month fun, then consider getting involved or organizing some nutrition month activities, such as

  • A cooking demonstration or nutrition event
  • A presentation at your local park or senior center
  • A food donation campaign for your local food pantry or shelter
  • A commitment to try one new healthy recipe as a family each week
  • A visit to a local farmers market or farm
  • A “lunch and learn” on healthy eating
  • A scavenger hunt for healthy foods or recipe ingredients

National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to refocus on the healthy habits you started in January or to invite others to join you in your efforts. Use these tips and remember that it’s about starting small and making simple changes every day that you can stick to long term.

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The One Skill That Helps Teach Your Child How To Think for Themselves

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It’s more important now than ever to teach your child how to think on their own. In our fast-paced world, we’re getting our information in bite-sized chunks—through 10-second news clips, 140-character tweets, and word of mouth. Trends start just as quickly as they fade, whether it’s makeup, social media, books, or games. Jobs are becoming more demanding, requiring employees to not only wear many hats but also rapidly make decisions for the projects they’re working on and the company they’re working for. Parents who want to raise successful adults need to teach your child how to think critically from an early age.

Why Critical Thinking is Important

how to teach your child to think critically | The Apple Tree Learning CenterCritical thinking isn’t just a skill your child will use in school and get graded on. We use critical thinking in every aspect of our day to day lives, whether we’re choosing food at a grocery store or watching the news. If you can teach a child how to think, you are giving them independence and self-reliance. A child who can think critically is more confident in themselves. They are also more capable of learning, evaluating information, and solving problems.

When you teach your child how to think for themselves, you are also giving them the tools they need to resist being taken advantage of. They are able to assess situations more accurately, rather than being swayed by smooth-talking car salesmen and both on- and offline predators. A free-thinking child is a savvy, educated adult.

How to Teach Your Child to Think for Themselves

Teach Your Child How to Think By Creating Good Habits

When beginning to teach your child how to think, it’s important to create a solid foundation with good habits such as proper eating, regular studying, and educational entertainment. These habits will nurture your child’s intelligence and provide them with the tools for success in all aspects of their life.

Question Everything—and Keep Asking Questions

Once you have a routine in place, begin incorporating questions into your regular conversation . Asking questions is a great start when faced with how to teach your child to think critically. Rather than leaving things at “Fine” when you ask how your child’s day at school was, ask them specific questions and continue probing. You can also do this whenever your child experiences something new, whether it be a restaurant they’ve never been to or a movie that was just released. This will also teach your child how to have meaningful conversations and interactions in their own relationships.

How to Teach Your Child to Think for Themselves with a Game

To teach your child how to think, you can also make a game of categorizing and classifying at home . This can be as simple as purchasing several plastic bins and asking them to sort their toys by type during cleanup—all LEGO go in one bin, for example, and all doll clothes go in another. Make yourself available to help but try to just observe and let your child figure it out for themselves. They will be more proud and self-reliant.

Teach Your Child How to Think Even When You’re Not Around

how to teach your child to think for themselves | The Apple Tree Learning CenterAt some point, all children must learn to become independent—usually in stages. A toddler, for example, learns to play without mom for a few minutes at a time. By the time your child goes away to college, they should have learned a certain level of independence. If you teach your child how to think from a young age, this transition will be seamless. The task can be daunting, because you want your child to be both brave and safe, but encouraging adventure and self-confidence from an early age will help teach your child how to think and build their self-esteem.

Give Your Child the Best Free-Thinking Education

At Tucson Preschool, we foster and encourage children to think critically, and work to help you learn how to teach your child to think critically. Contact us today to enroll your child.

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11 Remarkable Ways Playing Outdoors Benefits Children

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Playing outdoors has been the main activity for children around the world, throughout most of human history. Only recently, with the advent of cheap technology and electronics, that kids have been inclined to stay indoors and ignore the natural pull of the outdoors.

Denying that natural impulse has undeniable consequences to children. Even society and the health of the planet as a whole is affected. Here are just 11 remarkable benefits of playing outdoors.

1. Fresh air

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Bubbles are awesome!

The air outside can be considerably better for your child’s developing lungs and body than the air inside of a house. Indoor air can not only be stale recycled air, but it can be full of allergens, impurities, and dust.

Unless you live in a densely populated metropolitan with poor air quality, going outside to play with your kids has great health benefits.

2. Being outside encourages activity

Going outside is itself energizing and invigorating. Being in the sunlight stimulates a gland in our brain to secrete hormones that keep our rhythm in tune.

Going outside not only encourages kids to run around, get exercise, and be active and healthy, but it also helps their bodies know when its time to go to sleep. Encouraging restful sleep  causes proper development and a healthy immune system.

3. Increases immunity

One of the health benefits of playing outdoors and touching the earth, trees, and bits of nature means that your child is exposed to more bacteria and viruses than they are indoors. This is not a bad thing. Consistent and gentle exposure in this way is natural.

Their body is being introduced and primed to recognize harmful pathogens. This can prevent severe illnesses later on down the road and make for a healthier child.

4. Being outside is inspiring

The natural world is full of wonder. Revealing this world to your kids will provide them with an endless source of inspiration.  This will become a part of who they are. Being able to turn to nature for inspiration and serenity is one of the greatest gifts that a parent can pass on.  Kids will always remember that they have this, and be grateful for it. A sense of outdoor inspiration is subtle.  Outdoor play is also linked to other areas of learning and development.

5. Creativity is sparked outside

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So many possibilities!

When kids go outside, they see a wide world full of possibilities and curiosities. There are so many things to grab their attention.  Their senses are tickled by lots of different stimuli.  This in turn affects their brain by inspiring creativity.

The world is their oyster, when they are outside. Kids are free to create anything they want, as the environment becomes free reign. The porch can become a pirate ship, or a running hose can become a waterfall.

Letting your kid express their creativity outside is flexing your child’s brain.  They will grow into better, more creative adults because of it.

6. Science takes place outside

Just as creativity is spurred outside, so is scientific curiosity. Kids see how the world works, in person. This is stimulating to their curiosity. If they see something, they will want to figure out how it works. With you by their side, they might learn more than they would in a classroom. This is the very basis of the scientific process.

They can observe and interact with wild animals and learn to care for them and the environment as a whole. They can see how weather and seasons affect the natural world, and the rhythm of the planet. It is crucial for a child to understand and care for their planet.  Without going outdoors, this part of them will never develop. A side effect of less outdoor play is the decline of environmentalists in society.

7. Playing outside is calming

Kids are full of energy, to an excess. Releasing that energy outside during playtime helps them burn some of that excess energy. Kids get exercise and become healthier and become calmer and easier to manage for their parents and caretakers.

The outdoors is a place where even the most energetic and inattentive child will find the endless stimuli that they crave. Encouraging them to spend their energy on outdoor activities is a great way to funnel that energy.  These activities will build a strong foundation for a healthy adulthood.

8. Better vision

There are scientific studies that show that exposure to natural sunlight enhances a child’s ability for distance vision. It can also lower their chances for nearsightedness. Sunlight stimulates portions of the human brain in ways that are crucial to development. Exposure to sunlight also promotes a healthy circadian rhythm.  This rhythm is important to a healthy sleep cycle.

9. Better physical coordination

It has been proven that playing outside greatly benefits kids who are still developing their coordination. Playing outside and in a natural environment exposes them to uneven and unstable surfaces.  This requires proper balance, agility, depth perception, and dexterity.

Tucson infant care centers which let kids play outside grow into kids with better coordination. Without introduction to natural surfaces, a child may not develop a good sense of balance and may later suffer from poor coordination and vertigo.

10. Better grades and classroom performance

There is evidence that shows a strong connection between outdoor activities and good performance in school. Studies show that kids who spend time outside do better in all academic subjects.  It also increases critical thinking skills.

Schools that incorporate outdoor activities in their curriculum show a drastic increase in learning outcomes. One study shows that engagement in hands-on outdoor science programs increased student understanding of science by 27 percent.

11. A sense of stewardship

The Apple Tree Learning Centers

Summer means more time outside! Yea!

By introducing your child to the outdoors, they will learn to love it and care for it. Take it a step further, and teach them the names of the plants and animals that live around them.

The natural world is full of wonder.  It sparks endless wells of curiosity. It can be a place where children can fully engage themselves, body and mind. Tucson infant care centers with outdoor play have shown an increase in kids who love nature.

Passing on knowledge of the natural world introduces the next generation to a sense of stewardship for our planet. Our planet needs more protection every day. Playing outdoors on a regular basis can make your child into a better human being. What a great benefit that can be!

Look for a Tucson child care center that incorporates outdoor time. Your child and family will benefit in many ways. If you are starting early, look for a Tucson preschool that has caretakers trained to incorporate the outdoors into care and play. You will notice the immediate benefits, as well as throughout your child’s life and development. There are so many benefits to playing outside, go ahead and get started now!