It may seem easier to let the computer or television screen babysit your kids because you work from home or just arrived back from work and the last thing you want to do is to be a parent. This is a bad habit to get into because your kids are the ones suffering. Learn to balance both indoor and outdoor play by establishing some of these ideas within your household.
- Teach kids the fun of raking up a pile of leaves and jumping in them.
- Take a daily walk downtown, if you live close enough, and experience your town together.
- Create a backyard that tempts the kids to get out and be active.
- Make bird feeders and have your kids partake in a daily bird watch to see which species arrive.
- Create an outdoor scavenger hunt day where you all take turns creating a treasure map.
- Use the deck or porch area to play board games or have a weekly family meeting.
- Create your own unique versions of childhood games like tag and hide-n-seek.
- Take the kids out on a local activity such as fishing, kayaking or swimming in a local lake.
- Purchase outdoor sports equipment such as volleyball, basketball or soccer gear.
- Start a family garden and enlist the kids as the main gardeners who are in charge of it.
- Let them play with water on a regular basis.
- Have outdoor chores as part of the kid’s daily responsibilities.
- Consider a bicycle and other outdoor riding gear that will entice the kids to play more.
- Start a dirt mound for an outdoor sandbox for kids who love to make dirt castles.
- Purchase outdoor trucks for kids who love digging around the yard.
- Make it a point to take an evening walk around the neighborhood as a family.
The key to encouraging your kids to play outdoors really comes down to parents letting go of their fear of a big mess. The best fun to be had outdoors usually creates quite a mess between water, mud, dirt and bugs. You need to learn to let the kids be kids on an outdoor adventure, because the more restrictions they have placed upon them, the less likely they will want to engage in outdoor play. I will assume you own a hose, a bathtub and some washcloths, right?! Put them to use, because there’s nothing that brings a parent more joy than the pure laughter that comes from kids being encouraged to play outdoors.
Let's discuss: How do you encourage your kids to play outdoors?