What are you going to do with your summer? A question all kids must answer once the school year is over. If watching television, playing video games or surfing the web are your child’s top choices, it may be time to introduce some outdoor activities into their summer routine. Good habits start early and active children become active adults, conquering obesity and sedentary behavior. Your kids will thank you for it.
When children engage in less structured outdoor play, they typically sustain moderately energetic activity over longer periods of time – the type of activity that is particularly important for health and fitness. In addition, there is a growing body of research on how spending time outdoors benefits children’s development beyond the obvious physical benefits. Those benefits include kids that are more imaginative, creative and cooperative.
If the children in your life need a little encouragement to put away their video games, we’ve got some ideas to get your kids excited about playing outside.
- Plan an Interesting Place to Visit – The backyard may be the easiest option to get children playing outside, but by planning a little, you can find other interesting places to take your children. Walk to a neighborhood park or visit a nature center or the zoo.
- Have Fun While Moving Around – One of the great things about playing outside is that most of the time, your kids are concentrating so hard on having fun, they don’t even realize how much effort and energy they’re using. Fly a kite at the park, skip stones at a pond or play a game such as red rover red rover, tag or hide and seek.
- Investigate Nature – Playing outdoors is critical to a child’s development because all of his senses are engaged and he’s making decisions based on using those senses. Also, cultivating an interest in trees and other plants, animals and natural phenomena is a great way to motivate kids to get outdoors. Take a nature walk and share stories about things you remember about nature from your childhood, start a collection from your walks or plan a family hike.
Move around and demonstrate how much you enjoy being outside. This will go a long way in teaching your kids to embrace the outdoors too. Life happens outside, get out there and enjoy it!