The Great Outdoors

Well, the sun finally decided to show up — but we seem to have bypassed spring and jumped right into summer! Not that we’re complaining. There’s an excited hum surrounding the city, and after a particularly long winter (do they seem to get longer every year?), a little extra heat is more than welcome.

The best part about the weather heating up is the endless stream of activities right at our fingertips. New York is so quiet in the colder months, with kids and adults alike choosing to huddle up indoors rather than head out to explore the city. But as soon as Mr. Golden Sun makes his way back to us, the streets come alive again. The busier it gets, the more tempting it is to spend days tucked away in the park, enjoying the greenery and scenery. And, of course, enjoying a good book!

Reading outdoors is not only a chance to get some fresh air — it is a chance for children to explore in new ways and to stretch their imaginations. There are plenty of benefits, but here are a few we think make the biggest difference.

It ignites the senses.

Kids spend a lot of time inside — during school, at home, etc. Heading outside to read and learn gives them the opportunity to engage with nature and explore their senses. What do you see? Smell? Hear? Feel? These types of questions and the responses they engender encourage children to pay closer attention to the world around them. These questions can also be linked back into whatever book your child is reading and draw his or her attention to what the characters may be feeling and experiencing where they are.

It’s an instant mood booster.

This one is a no-brainer, but important nonetheless: a hefty dose of Vitamin D is good for the mind, body, and soul. Simply spending an hour or two outside is proven to improve moods, relieve stress, and ease anxiety. Remember when your teachers would conduct class outside, and how much better — and, perhaps, easier — it felt? Having a clear head and a happy heart also leads to children being more receptive to information, which allows them to retain and relay facts more comfortably.

It facilitates imaginative thinking.

Say you bring a book like Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt to the park. It’s filled with nothing but outdoor imagery — flowers, insects, trees… much like the flowers, insects, and trees surrounding your little one. Have them embark on a little scavenger hunt to see all the things they can match — and what brand new objects they discover along the way. These types of activities urge children to take notice of the world around them and see more clearly the way things work together to make up the places we call home!

Do you have a favorite book to bring with you on your warm weather adventures? We’re always looking for new favorites and, of course, new ways to enjoy this magical city we call home.

Enjoy the sunshine!

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