6 Reasons Why Real Grass Play Matters
Here’s a very real thing that happens to me once the reality of October sets in (that would be right now): I start thinking, “OK stop messing around...you need to be outside with the girls as much as possible because pretty soon being outside has the potential to be uncomfortable for, oh, maybe 5 months.” (The alternate title of this post was “Why you need to get outside and play before real grass potentially disappears under several feet of snow for 5 months.”)
So when the folks at RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, who I worked with on this awesome hiking with kids + tick check information post) reached out to ask if I wanted to share my thoughts about the importance of real grass outdoor play, I was like, “YES PLEASE!” Because we need to enjoy real grass before it potentially disappears under snow for several months. And also, physical activity is crucial. The USDA recommends at least one hour of physical activity a day, and given our city condo confines, it’s impossible for Laurel and Violet to hit this mark if we don’t get outside. And lack of activity makes my kids irritable. And it makes bedtimes harder. And if you like data, there’s research that shows that physically active children have up to 40 percent higher test scores.
In a nutshell, it’s crucial to get outside while we have the weather on our side and while we can enjoy the benefits of real grass. Today I’m sharing my top reasons for real grass outdoor play and some recommendations on how to enjoy it!
1. Green space is calming, even if the space is small
We have a very small backyard but we have preserved the grass (with a manual push mower!) because even that small rectangle of green has a calming effect. Every now and then Jon pitches a tent out there for fun (the kids go CRAZY over this!) but my favorite simple activities are to stretch out on the grass and read books with the kids or have a picnic.
2. Kids can’t help but move with a big grassy expanse
One of my favorite things about being on a bigger grassy expanse is that it inspires movement. When faced with an open field Violet immediately breaks into a run and some cartwheels, and we always have, at the very least, a frisbee, football, and soccer ball in the backseat for impromptu outdoor adventures.
3. Grass helps grown ups chill out and have fun too
As I mentioned earlier, green space is calming and it also invites play. Arguably one of the best gifts we have even given was a cornhole set to dear friends who we vacation with in Maine. Every summer, cornhole is a thing!
4. Kids get creative on grass
I don’t like a lot of clutter so we stick to the basics with outdoor play and don’t bother with much in the way of toys, and I’ve found that this is actually great because then kids use their imaginations and make up their own lawn games (or gymnastics routines!).
5. For sports kids, more touches = good!
Laurel and Violet both play soccer and not surprisingly, they’d like to be good at it! Even if you don’t know any real drills for your kid’s sport, just get them out there having fun; the more touches, the better!
6. Hooray, no screens!
One of the best ways to get kids (and yourself!) off screens is to get out and do something active. And one amazing thing about living in Massachusetts is that in addition to town/city green spaces, Massachusetts has an amazing network of state parks. If you’re looking to shake up your usual routine, just plug in your zip code at this Massachusetts state park location finder to find a Massachusetts state park near you!
Disclosure: This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment). All thoughts and opinions about outdoor recreation are, of course, my own.