Outdoor Play

Make Room for Play - Kids are more active when they're outside! 

Did you know? Ontario preschoolers spend twice as much time being active when they play outdoors. When children are outside they move more, sit less, play longer and sleep better at night.

Spend Time Outdoors as a Family

Spending time outside is good for your entire family. Kids are more likely to take part in outdoor-based activities if you do too.  If you move outdoors, your kids will too!

Provide your child with approval and encouragement. This can help motivate them to embrace the great outdoors. The more a child is exposed to nature when they are young, the more likely they will seek it out as they grow up.  Help your child develop their lifelong love of the outdoors. 

Here are some fun things to do outdoors as a family:
  • Start a rock collection.
  • Have a scavenger hunt. Make a list of things for you and your child to find.
  • Collect leaves. Make a leaf picture with paper and glue.
  • Start a journal. Record animal sightings together or fun things you've seen.
  • Collect treasures in a small bag. Talk about all the neat things you have found.
  • Find animal tracks and follow them as long as you can.
  • While outside, challenge your child to find one object that starts with each letter of the alphabet.
  • Play "I Spy with My Little Eye".  Pick something you see and give your child hints until they guess what you are looking at.
  • Put your children to work raking the leaves in a big pile and then encourage them to jump in.
  • For a wintertime scavenger hunt, freeze colored water into ice cubes, then hide them around the yard.

Outdoor Play in Ottawa - What to Do

Make Room for Play! Kids are more active when they're outside. Children playing outside in autumn. One child and one parent walking the dog; one child bicycling wearing a helmet; one youth canoeing wearing a lifejacket.
When children are outside they move more, sit less, play longer, and sleep better at night. Children playing outside in summer - One child skateboarding wearing a helmet; two children swimming in a pool wearing arm floaties; one lifeguard present on side of pool; two children playing ball; one bottle of sunscreen SPF 30. Everyone is wearing a sun hat or bandana.
Parental role modeling - move outdoors your kids will too. Children playing outside in spring - one child sliding down a slide; two children playing on swings; one child playing basketball with parent; one child in wheelchair playing basketball; two children flying kites; one child running.
Ontario preschoolers spend twice as much time being active when play is outside - 53% versus 23%. Have Fun, increase physical activity and decrease sit time. Children playing outside in winter - Two children building a snowman; one child skating with parent.

Source: The Biggest Risk is Keeping Kids Indoors, the 2015 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. 

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Key Messages
  • Make Room for Play
  • Kids are more active when they're outside
  • When children are outside they move more, sit less, play longer, and sleep better at night.
  • Parental role modeling - move outdoors your kids will too.
  • Ontario preschoolers spend twice as much time being active when play is outside - 53% versus 23%.
  • Have Fun!
  • Increase physical activity
  • Decrease sit time

Visit us online at: ParentinginOttawa.ca/outdoorplay

Be in the know. Here are some outdoor activities you can do with your family in Ottawa. Many of these activities are free and are easily accessible by bus.

Swimming
Cycling
Outdoor Parks & Recreation Areas
Ottawa Attractions
Skating, Sledding & Skiing
  • Outdoor skating in Ottawa is a must! Check out where to skate in Ottawa. And remember, helmets are for the whole family!
  • Check out one of the City of Ottawa sledding hills
  • Hit the slopes as a family. There are many ski hills in the Ottawa region

Do you have more questions about parenting?

  • Connect with a registered nurse from Health811 for free, secure, and confidential health advice. Service is available 24/7 in English and French, with translation support also offered in other languages. Call 8-1-1 or visit Health811.ontario.ca.
  • Connect with a Community Navigator from 2-1-1 for information about community programs and resources across Eastern Ontario. Helpline service is available 24/7 and in many different languages. Call 2-1-1 or visit 211ontario.ca.
  • Connect with other parents on the Parenting in Ottawa Facebook page.
  • There are a variety of services to make it easier for your child to grow up healthy in Ottawa.
  • You can update your child's immunization record using either the CANImmunize App or the Immunization Connect Ontario (ICON) Tool
  • If you have received a message from Ottawa Public Health such as a letter or a call regarding immunization, an infectious disease, or infection control lapse, please call 613-580-6744 and listen to the menu options carefully.

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