I spent part of the day outdoors today. My husband and I went to a great park downtown and had a picnic by the water. There were lots of families with children spending time together hiking, biking, swimming, walking dogs. Everyone was having such a good time, engaged in play and conversation. It was a great Sunday afternoon and I was grateful to have the time to relax and recharge. It also reminded me of the importance of simply being outside. One of things I hope to remember in my work is to bring the outside in to the hospital as much as I can. Things I can do to incorporate nature into time spent with children in the hospital:
- Advocating and helping to arrange for outdoor time for children who are well enough to spend time out-of-doors. This can range from playing on the playground to simply wheeling a wheelchair to a shady spot in the garden near the hospital.
- For room-bound patients, I can create activities that involve looking outside the window (keeping track of the weather, I-Spy games, looking for signs of the seasons, etc.)
- For long-term patients consider planting seeds in a window container and watching them grow.
- Use natural materials such as leaves and rocks in art projects
- Incorporate more physical and sensory play outside into my practice
- Purchase more toys/equipment for outside fun
A few thoughts for taking advantage of the therapeutic benefits of being outside. Feel free to leave suggestions for other outdoor and nature activities in the comments section.