School Closings Alert

Outside time

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Updated: 8/12/2003 12:11 am
Most children enjoy spending time outdoors, where they can give free rein to feet itching to run and exercise their vocal cords with 'outside voices.' Many states have laws requiring daycare centers to include daily outdoor time for all children, weather and the child's health permitting. Outside time should be organized to include alternating quiet and active pursuits. Quiet activities might include exploring nature or building sand castles, while more boisterous games, like tag and red rover, are considered active. In most states, daycare centers are required to provide separate play areas for children younger than two and a half years, with appropriate playground equipment. This helps ensure small children can have a safe, enjoyable time outdoors, too. Many daycare centers supply tricycles and scooters for younger children to help them develop large motor skills, while older children are usually supplied with freestanding equipment, securely anchored to the ground, to spark their imaginations. State laws help make sure your child's outdoor time is as safe as possible by requiring centers to fence in the play space, provide resilient surfaces under climbing structures and swings, and requiring swing seats to be of pliable material.

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