Why Include Outdoor Recreational Activities?

Recreational outdoor activities can be enjoyable and promote good exercise. The outdoor program is designed to help children develop proficiency in physical activities, which will give them the confidence and ability to enjoy such times when opportunity presents itself. The outdoor program is just another teaching time. It is very important to avoid allowing the environment to become competitive, lest learners on lesser planes become timid and discouraged. Whatever game is chosen, rules, scoring, and playing skills need to be taught in a plain and simple manner. Again, do not emphasize competition or winning. The importance of these activities, especially at younger ages, is to develop physical abilities, confidence, and the principles of teamwork. Especially in the beginning, individual skills should be stressed. No team is any better than its components or individuals. Remember that individual skills are best taught with one-on-one coaching. Each member has his own peculiar areas needing improvement. For example in tennis: Is the child swinging too soon? Are the child's hands placed properly on the racket? Is his/her stance correct? If the children are going to improve, they need to know what mistakes they are making and learn how to play properly.

Never assume that your leaders know how to teach these things. Even high level coaches and "naturals" tend to focus much more on team strategies rather than fundamental individual skills.

Always remember that any children's program, including sports and games, should be intended to help and instruct each and every participant.

Give your children a healthy environment to acquire new skills. By healthy environment, we mean free from criticism and unkind remarks. Teach your children to be cheerleaders for each other, encouraging one another to do better.