Technology, screens, and gadgets mean many of our kids are spending more time inside than outside. Outdoor play, however, is important for kids for many reasons. From improved physical health to a boost to overall happiness, we should all be encouraging our kids to play outside.
Getting your kids to play outside rather than inside, however, isn’t always a simple task. But if you’ve decided you want your kids to play outside, whether it’s to get them off their screens or because you’ve researched what causes myopia (short-sightedness), these tips will help you out.
- Start in your backyard
Encouraging outdoor time doesn’t mean your kids need to be exploring the neighborhood or off on hikes. You can start small by encouraging kids to play in the backyard. Making your backyard a fun place to play is the best way to do this. Outdoor picnic, camping, or kitchen sets, sandboxes and paddling pools, or outdoor games like swing ball are great ways to make your own backyard into a fun play space.
- Give them outdoor toys
Water blasters, swingball, binoculars, slides, frisbees, swing sets – there are so many outdoor toys out there that you can give your kids to encourage them to play outside. Whilst sitting outside to get some rest and relaxation is fun for adults, kids will be restless if simply left to their own devices outside. Toys that can only be outside will make your kids look forward to sunny days when they can play with them.
- Make it a family activity
Leading by example is often the best way to encourage your kids to change their behavior. If your kids are forced outside and you are inside on your phone, they may feel like they are being treated unfairly. Go outside with your kids, take them to parks, play games with them, and sit outside while they play.
- Do an outdoor game every weekend
Every weekend, you have an opportunity to do something fun with your family. If the weather is good enough, make an outdoor game a weekly activity. This could be a game of rounders, a scavenger hunt, or a water blaster fight. Your kids will enjoy the outdoor activity and the time spent with you.
If you’re stuck for ideas, this list of outdoor activities to do this weekend will give you some inspiration.
- Invite their friends
Playdates are a great way to socialize your kids and encourage them to spend time outside. Invite school friends over for outdoor games or a picnic – a surefire way to make outdoor time even more fun for your kids.
- Get a dog
Getting a dog is a big commitment and not a decision to take lightly. That said, getting a dog is a great way to get your kids outside more. Playing in the backyard with the dog and taking it for walks will be fun for your kids and the whole family. You can also explain to your kid the importance of exercising the dog, so they will see outdoor activity as benefitting the dog and not just themselves.