3YO Outside Too Much at Daycare? — The Bump
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3YO Outside Too Much at Daycare?

I seem to be in the opposite boat as the previous poster who wrote about her child not getting enough outside play time at daycare. My son is almost 3 and has a fairly new daycare teacher who apparently loves to take them outside. They go outside once in the morning (around 10am) and come back in at lunch time which is cool. And then after nap (around 2:30), they get up, go to the bathroom, and then pack it up and go to the playground for the rest of the day. I pick DS up around 5pm and he's still outside on the playground. I'm all for outside time, letting my kid play and work off energy. But that afternoon block of basically 3 solid hours of outside time seems like a lot. Whenever I pick him up, his teacher is just chit chatting with another teacher over by the fence, and meanwhile, the kids are just kind of wandering around. Usually mine is smacking trees with sticks, a couple times he was sitting by the fence eating grass, once he was just sitting on the gravel. The "playground" is one little structure with a slide and then a grassy area.

I know I'm just going to be one of those moms who can't win with daycare. Our situation is what it is, and I'm hopeful that by preschool he'll be somewhere else. And I know that the teacher just wants to get out, enjoy the weather, and let them run around. But he used to do a lot more structured learning/play with his previous teacher like centers, circle time, songs and stories, Simon Says-type group activities. And now it just seems loosey goosey just when I'm wanting him to get a feel for the Pre-K expectations.

Is there a such thing as too much outside time at this age? Or should I just not worry about it...? Thanks!

Re: 3YO Outside Too Much at Daycare?

  • So he's not in preschool right? This is daycare?

    That's a little too much playground time IMO as well. I wouldn't be happy with that for my 3 year old. At that age I do think kids need a little bit more structure in their activities (whether inside or outside) but it's not cool to just leave them to play for 3 hours.

    Have you talked to the director of the daycare about this? That's what I would do.

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  • I wouldn't mind necessarily. My daughter is good and tired after spending time outside. My babysitter does all sorts of things with the kids, they play on the kiddie equipment, ride bikes, trikes, take walks (she lives in a cul-de-sac), they go to the park, draw with chalk, play in the sprinkler or little pool, etc. The kids love playing outside.  
  • I'm of the mindset that kids should be outside as much as possible.  My kids are happiest when they are outdoors.  If it's on the chillier side then 3 hours outside seems like a long time.  A half hour or one hour would be more realistic when it's cold.  But if it's sunny and nice then I wouldn't worry about it.  My DD's daycare/school sucks with taking the kids out so I would probably be thrilled if my DD were spending so much time outdoors at school.
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  • One of the reasons I love my daycare is all the outside time! They have a couple hours of preschool in the morning but that is really all they can handle at that age. They are outside a lot of the day rain or shine. We are very outdoorsy people though and make a point to spend a lot of time outside ourselves so we want our kids to enjoy it. When we are home our kids are expected to go outside everyday as long as weather permits and they love it. Some of my best memories as a kid were just daydreaming outside and being creative with play. What would bother me is if the kids aren't being well supervised in or outside, which maybe is what is going on there? Whatever the case, if it bothers you then maybe it's time to look for another daycare. 
  • it sounds like the problem is the lack of structure/organization rather than the actual time spent outdoors. i would sooner complain about that or you'll wind up with your daughter wandering around the school gym doing nothing instead of at least enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.
  • MrvlMrvl member
    I'm a 'the more outside the better'- kind of person. But it seems there's a lack of structure/organisation.. like playing a game, singing a song or exploring with a certain task.
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