Ask any expat living in Dubai what they did for fun when growing up back home. Whether it was climbing trees, playing in the park down the road, or building sandcastles – these are the childhood memories that can never be replaced or forgotten.
Nowadays, especially in such a warm climate like Dubai, active outdoor play has quickly become dominated by screen time. This is a big struggle for many parents as active outdoor play not only benefits your child’s physical development, but also plays a key role in building social skills and creativity.
Inspired by the ‘Dirt Is Good’ campaign launched by OMO Arabia, we recently asked parents whether their kids are getting enough outdoor play time. This article highlighted a very important fact from the U.N, Children’s Rights Article 31, 2013 that “every child has the #RightToPlay“.
From limiting technology time to encouraging water-based activities during hotter months, here are five handy tips to ensure your child gets enough outdoor play time:
1. Organise regular play dates
Social interaction is incredibly important when it comes to your child’s development. A great way to get your little ones out and about is to organise regular play dates with your favourite neighbourhood mums. It doesn’t have to be costly either – you can simply take your kids and their friends to your nearest park, and watch them play games, get dirty and interact with each other.
2. Limit technology time
Whether it’s being glued to an iPad or watching non-stop TV, many parents often confuse gadget play time with active play time. A common tip parents swear by is to limit technology time by either setting a timer or introducing a ‘curfew’. This will help establish boundaries and get them used to a consistent routine.
3. Plan weekly challenges
If you’re looking to get a bit more creative, another great way to encourage outdoor play is through weekly challenges or rewards. Whether it’s balancing a ball on a racket for a minute or doing 20 keep-ups with a football, your child will look forward to these weekly challenges and learn new skills while they’re at it.
Top tip: create a star-chart of skills and allow your children to add a star every time they accomplish a new outdoor skill.
4. Make it a habit
If your child is used to picking up electronics or watching TV, it’s never too late to break the habit (after all, they say it only takes 21 days to form a new habit!) Make the most of Dubai’s cooler months and plan for more outdoor activities with family and friends. Whether it’s camping, beach days, picnics in the park, or road trips to another emirate, you’d be surprised at how many awesome outdoor experiences this city has to offer, as well as the massive benefits this regular outdoor play time will have on your children.
5. Encourage water-based activities
As soon as Dubai’s scorching summer months come around, you’ll find everyone hibernating in the A.C (…and we don’t blame you!) But, for your little ones it can can get pretty boring, especially when summer holidays last three months in this part of the world. From splashing around at waterparks to wet ‘n’ wild fun with water fights, there are plenty of ways your kids can cool down with water play.
Top tip: enjoy some DIY fun and make your own water balloons at home. Stock up on a variety of funky colours, fill them up with water and get splashing!
Check out this video by OMO Arabia on how this mum encouraged her child to swap an iPad for a football…
Many parents are always looking for new ways to encourage their children to play outside and make the most of the great outdoors. One of those parents is Khalid Al Ameri who recently made a video about why #DirtIsGood and the reasons why children should have the #RightToPlay; check it out here.
For more information on OMO’s Dirt Is Good campaign about children’s #RightToPlay, flick to the OMO Arabia Facebook page or OMO Arabia Instagram page. You’ll even find four reasons for messy play on the OMO Arabia website!