Skimm Parenting·

Bluey games IRL

But first: do your kids have an "outdoor play deficit"?

Editor's Note

Hey hey. This week’s newsletter is a special send all about playing outdoors. Which has me thinking about my daughter and how tagging along to her brother’s baseball games means one thing: more playtime. The playground has reached third-place status for both of us. Still, we could take a cue from Denmark with its staffed playgrounds or from Japan with these next-level features. I’m not sure how I feel about playground meddlers, though.  

Meanwhile, I’ll also be playing in the dirt with my kids. It’s beneficial for everyone, even baby elephants.

— Marisa Iallonardo / Parenting Writer / White Plains, NY

We Have to Talk About...

Child getting an eye exam

The latest in parenting news, tips, and trends all about outdoor play:

Why ”risky play” helps kids develop important life skills. Plus what to say instead of “be careful” — even if you’re freaking out a little. Deep breaths.

This unexpected benefit of playing outside we never thought of. Plus these Bluey-inspired outdoor games if your kids want new ideas. Don’t come back in ‘til dinner.

Which bug spray ingredients actually work — and how this “pen trick” can help you tell if your kid has a bug bite or a rash. No Dr. Google needed.

This parent calling out youth sports — are adult egos ruining the game? Oh and, the sports gear parents need to get comfy on the field. Back support included.

 PS… If getting the kids away from their screens is an issue, these parental control apps could help. Time to unplug.

Ask An Expert

girl sneezing

Last week, we asked you to vote on a question to answer. The winner was:

How can I tell if my child has a cold or seasonal allergies? 


Gary E. Kirkilas, DO

Gary E. Kirkilas, DO

Pediatrician at Phoenix Children’s

“Unfortunately, the symptoms of seasonal allergies often overlap with the symptoms of the common cold,” says Kirkilas, like congestion, runny nose, cough, and fatigue. But there are some clues to help you tell the difference, he says. 

It may be allergies if: 

  • Your child is over 4. “Most children don’t typically develop allergies until they are near school age, around age 4-5,” says Kirkilas. Children need multiple seasons of pollen exposure for their bodies to develop allergies, he says.

  • Certain symptoms are more frequent. This presents as constant sneezing and/or itching of the eyes, nose, and throat, along with clear nasal discharge. Clear being the key here — if it’s thick yellow or green it’s likely not allergies, says Kirkilas.

  • There’s no fever. “Allergies should never produce a fever, so if one is present, the child is likely suffering from a cold or other infection,” he says.

  • Symptoms last 10-plus days. “Viral colds last 7-10 days, however, if symptoms persist past 10 days, this would point to allergies as the culprit,” says Kirkilas.

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No One Asked Us, But...


We have thoughts. This week, we ranked our thoughts on Millennial-era outdoor games, from 0–10. No science, just snark.   

Hard pass

2/10 Red Rover. The number of injuries alone — broken arms, bloody noses — it’s pretty bad


5/10 Manhunt. Upside: It felt more mature to play this versus hide-and-seek. Downside: It gave off Hunger Games vibes, especially in the dark.

 6/10 Simon Says and Mother May I. These are great for listening and direction-following development — but they can get competitive and devolve into angry tears quickly. Simon Says let’s play something else.

More of this

7/10 Red Light, Green Light. Before “Squid Games” turned this classic into something terrifying, it was a fun outdoor game. Let's go with that. 

10/10 Tag. It doesn’t matter which version of this childhood staple you chose — freeze tag, flashlight tag — it was always a good time.

The Resource

The Resource

This Toddler Play Gym Is Perfect for Indoor and Outdoor Fun 

The Avenlur Hazel 5-in-1 Climbing Gym can be used in multiple ways to keep your kids busy for hours — yes hours. Made from New Zealand pine using kid-safe paint and varnish, the gym includes a rocking toy, slide, and ladder — which can be used together to create one big climbing adventure.

“This saved us during the winter months with my very energetic toddler son. We'd put some cushy mats in our basement, plop this on the top, and let him play away. When it got warmer, we'd drag these outside to let him play in the grass,” says Editorial Director Karell Roxas. 

Bonus: It folds up, making it easy to store or move, and works for toddlers up through 7-year-olds.  

PS: Outside fun means many bottles of water. Instead of remembering to pack them, try  CamelBak Kids' Mini M.U.L.E. Hydration Packs. It lets kids carry their own water — even preschoolers. 


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