Children and staff at a Winnipeg daycare are spending more time outdoors — in fact, for two weeks, the only time they'll be heading indoors is to use the washroom.

The Lord Roberts Children's Program is one of several daycares in the city that have moved outdoors as part of a challenge to encourage kids to become more active.

For two weeks, children at the daycare are playing, eating and even napping outside.

"Kids are enjoying it; they're loving outside. Every time we go in, just for 'bathroom-ing' or filling up water bottles, they're ready to go right back outside," Rosette Hakim, the program's pre-school supervisor, said Thursday.

Hakim said the challenge began in 2011 with just a few daycares, and this year she wanted to put her kids and staff to the test.

David Fitzpatrick, dean of the kinesiology department at the University of Winnipeg, said the outdoor initiative is great because the early years are a critical time in a child's development.

"They require a good degree of physical activity — stress, if you will — to allow for optimal growth," he said.

Bringing back outdoor activity

Hakim said some parents initially raised concerns about their children spending the entire day outside, but now they now see the benefits.

"A lot of kids don't spend very much time outdoors anymore, just with cellphones and video games and TV and all this new technology," she said.

"When we were growing up, that's all we did … spend our days, all day everyday, outside. So we just kind of want to bring that back."

It wasn't difficult to convince some children, such as five-year-old Jimmy, to spend the day outside.

"I like being outside because we get to eat outside and … we get to really play outside," he said.

Bishop, also five years old, said he especially loves being outdoors when the weather conditions are ideal.

"When it's really windy or anything, Mother Nature sure is grumpy, sometimes I say," said Bishop.