Over the last few weeks in Pollok and Dawsholm Parks we have been lucky enough to experience some sunshine! Whilst we at WOK love a good rainy day we have been making sure to make the most of the lovely (and slightly atypical!) Scottish weather, taking advantage of all the opportunities that summer has to offer. In this blog entry I aim to talk about the benefits that sunshine can have on children, as well as the importance of sun safety. I will also, of course, provide details of some of the fun we have been having recently at Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens.
According to Harvard Medical School, when children (or indeed adults!) are exposed to sunlight a chemical and metabolic chain reaction happens in the body that produces vitamin D. Vitamin D is a hormone that many of us are low in and is extremely important in children. In an article entitled The benefits of Vitamin D for children by Every Day Health, it is stated that the presence of vitamin D helps children to maximise the benefits of calcium intake which helps their bones develop and strengthen. There is also evidence to suggest that sunny weather actually does make children happier. In 2006, established children author Pam Rosenburg published the book Sunny Weather Days. Rosenburg explains how summer weather can lead to increased energy levels and therefore higher spirits in children.
Having said this, it is extremely important to stay safe in the sun as there are a variety of health problems that can be caused by sun exposure. On a sunny day at Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens, staff take special care to ensure that children are well hydrated, wearing sun hats and all have liberal amounts of factor 5O sun cream on their skin (which we apply at least twice a day.) Furthermore, staff are careful to monitor the amount of time children spend in direct sunlight and will aim to keep them in more shaded and wooded areas as much as possible. If you would like further advice regarding how to stay safe in the sun, the NHS has a helpful online article which I have posted a link too below.
One of the best things aboutthis time of year is the beautiful flowers that have been coming into bloom throughout the parks. Staff have been taking children on many walks and adventures in order to give them the opportunity to seek and discover as many different plants as possible. The bright colours and aromatic smells serve as fantastic stimuli. Children’s natural curiosity lead them to ask questions about the breeds of flowers they are observing and their purposes; sometimes they even teach us a thing or two! Furthermore, many children appear to have been artistically inspired by the recent foliage they have discovered. I have noticed many of our members recreating what they have observed in their drawings, paintings and collages. Last Friday I helped one of the girls in my group create a sunflower card for her mother (she said she wanted to do so as she thought the flower was “beautiful like mummy is!”). This shows how seasonal changes provide ongoing stimulation and opportunities for children.
That’s it for this week folks! Lets keep our fingers crossed that the sunny weather may continue ( although here at WOK we have plenty of fun in the rain too!!) and join me next time when I will be reflecting upon the Graduation ceremonies we have been having at Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens.
Links and Bibliography
The Benefits of Vitamin D for Children: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/vitamin-d.htm
NHS tips for sun safety :https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/safety-in-the-sun/
Harvard Medical School Website : www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/benefits-of-moderate-sun-exposure
Book; Sunny Weather Days by Rosenburg
Book:Sunny Weather: A 4D book by Sally Lee- (Published this year, contains great visual stimuli for kids)