This article is about 5 outdoor activities that can improve children’s cognitive skills, act as a digital detox, and also engage them in the worship of Allah. In the age of digitalization, children and teens are becoming more involved in various online activities for education and leisure. Frequent digital engagement increases the dopamine level in the brain and leads to various problems among children like slow cognitive development, obesity, social dissension, etc. Meaningful outdoor activities can improve children’s physical and mental health. In the Quran, Allah emphasizes pondering upon His creations.
“And it is He who spread the Earth and made in it firm mountains and rivers, and of all fruits, he has made in it two kinds; He makes the night cover the day; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.” [13:3]
Also, the sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) encourages outdoor games like horse riding, swimming, and arrow shooting. Moreover, top-notch educational institutions make it a priority for children to engage in outdoor activities. Therefore, parents need to know when to pull the plug and engage children in such activities.
Through planting trees, children can learn to appreciate Allah’s blessing and also engage in meaningful activities. It improves their cognitive skills through learning about the process involved in planting and taking care of plants and trees. In the Quran, Allah draws our attention to the different types of plants and trees that He grows from the soil.
“It is He who sends down rain from the sky; from it is drink and from it is foliage in which you pasture [animals]” (16:68)
Children get to know that it is a charitable act as plants and trees are a source of food not only for humans but also for other creations. In addition to worship, they also get to know that plants also have an important function in our ecosystem. It helps to develop an environment-friendly attitude in them which is very much required in the present day when the world is facing a serious environmental catastrophe.
It is one of the games recommended in the Sunnah thus, performing it is an act of worship. It requires the rigorous exercise of all the organs in the body. This process helps the children to learn to synchronize their body and thoughts, master the fear of water, and has other numerous physical benefits. It can be a life-saving skill for some children as they will know how to survive an accident in the water.
Charity is one of the greatest forms of worship. It has been mentioned multiple times in the Quran along with prayer and also mentioned in the hadith.
“The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” [Tirmidhi]
Children’s analytic skills can be improved by making them participate in planning, distributing, and recording their charitable contributions. It helps them to become more compassionate towards others and become grateful for Allah’s blessings.
Shopping for essential goods can be an effective way to teach children money management skills and also implement the teaching of the Quran. Allah commands in the Quran not to be a spendthrift.
“Verily, the spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayatin (devils), and the Shaitan (Devil-Satan) is ever ungrateful to his Lord.” (17:27)
Children can learn to buy essential food items and limit their spending on non-essential goods. Developing such skills will help them to become more prudent in the later years of their life, especially at a time when young people are targeted mostly by companies for commercial gains.
Prophet (PBUH) traveled to different parts of the Arab world from an early age and that is how he became a great trader at a young age. Traveling lets children spend quality time with their family members and also gives them a lot of scope to learn from their elders. Exploring new places, meeting new people, and knowing about their lifestyle is a great way to develop social skills among children and teens. It helps children to get rid of boredom and laziness and can arouse curiosity regarding the history of early nations.
The recommended activities are a few examples to combine worship, education, and leisure activities for children and teens. No matter how innovative forms of digital education and entertainment content are available, parents and teachers should never undermine the importance of outdoor activities for children. Children are the Amana of Allah for parents and guardians and they can ensure a healthy bringing- up by becoming a bit more conscious.
By Farah Ahmed