When the sun is shining and the birds are singing, there’s no excuse for kids to be indoors, hunched over their computers and glued to their Playstations. Some parents may be tempted to let them be, because if they’re indoors at least they’re safe but bubble-wrapping kids isn’t good for them. Kids’ outdoor activities are good for their health and help them appreciate the beauty of the natural world and green living.
If you have to lock up the laptops and push your kids outside, that’s maybe because they don’t realise what fun they can have outdoors. Organizing outdoor activities for them that they think are more fun than video games can be a challenge, but you can do it! You may have to build in some incentives, but you can convert couch potatoes into active kids. Though kids are naturally creative in play, devising games and activities for them can really make a difference.
Your yard can be a place of wonder for small kids. Growing easy plants like sunflowers, nasturtiums and tomatoes is fun and educational, and most kids love a bit of messing about in the dirt. Let them get dirty! They’re fully washable. If you’re keen on organic foods, kids can also enjoy productive pets like chickens. Collecting and eating the eggs is a great treat.
All kids like their own special space and it doesn’t have to be indoors. Building kids a tree house from spare lumber, or giving them the materials to construct their own clubhouse or den will tap into that desire to play at being grown up and independent. It needn’t cost much but can be a great outdoors attraction.
If you’ve got a few dollars to spare, there are plenty of things you can buy to get the kids outside and on the move. Sporting equipment and games for the yard will give kids something specific to do outside. Furnish your garden with swings, hoops to shoot and traditional games like swing-ball and table tennis. They’ll all help make your garden like a big playroom.
Outings for kids are a great way to satisfy their natural curiosity and need for stimulation as well. Go to the park and fly a kite. Go camping or canoeing. If you know your plants, consider going foraging for wild foods, or take them strawberry picking in the season. For reluctant kids, the novelty factor can help to catch their interest, so check out the range of different outdoor activities offered in your area. There’ll probably be a lot more than you thought.
If you live in a built-up urban area, or in an apartment, you may find it harder to devise outdoor activities, but people out there are well aware of the distancing from nature that urban living generates. Check out your local library and read your area newspaper for clubs and community projects offering outdoor activities that kids can participate in, with you or on their own. How about summer camp?
Getting the kids outdoors will enrich their lives and promote their wellbeing in all sorts of ways…and there’s no better time to start than today!