There are plenty of reasons to want your kids to spend more time outdoors. Having the freedom to run, jump, and play helps children to build their strength. Not only is playing outside good for their physical health, but it's also great for improving their confidence and learning new skills. Being in nature has proven psychological benefits, such as a better mood and improved attention. It can also help kids to develop more empathy and an appreciation for nature and the environment.
In today's world, it's not always easy to convince kids to go outside. When they're younger, it's as simple as bundling them up in your arms or stroller and heading out. As they get older, though, they might prefer to play video games, chat online with friends, or watch TV. It can be difficult to motivate kids to go for a hike or bike ride. That's why we've put together this list of tried-and-true tips to help the kids get outdoors. Whether you're heading to the park or into the backyard, these tips will help them see the fun of being outside.
Kids are always more enthusiastic when an activity involves something they genuinely like or are interested in. To help motivate them to spend more time outdoors, try picking out activities that relate to things they enjoy. Kids who love walking, for example, won't fuss if you take them on a hike. If your little ones are interested in animals, they'll love a trip to a local farm or visiting the zoo. Do you have a future chef in the making? Lay out a blanket in the backyard for a family picnic. For kids who love water, there's kayaking or a day at the beach. Start with activities they'll enjoy, and their love for being outside will grow from there.
Ask your kids what they want to do so you can plan outdoor activities together. When getting ready for a hike or day trip, have them help you prepare a backpack to take with you. You can fill it with snacks, water, and maybe a game or two to look forward to later in the day. The more involved your kids feel at every step, the more likely they are to fully engage in the activity. It's important for them to see you enjoying yourself, too. Having a blast outdoors with your kids will make them want to do it more often.
Kids need to feel safe and free to have fun running around and playing outdoors. By finding or creating a space that they feel safe in and is just for them, they'll feel comfortable and be asking you to go there again and again. Whether it's a nearby trail or a local playground, there are plenty of community spaces to discover. You can also create this space in your own backyard. For example, take a few bed sheets and chairs outside, and they can create their own fort. If you have sleeping bags and a tent, set them up for the night to go "camping." Where space allows, you could also designate an area of the backyard for them to create their own garden.
Instead of having all toys available all the time, some parents choose to divide them into smaller, more manageable sets and switch them out on a regular basis. This helps to prevent clutter and overwhelming. Toy rotation is an excellent tool for organization, but it can also be used to motivate kids to play outside. Go through all your kids' toys and pick out the ones they can play with outside.
Think bubble makers, frisbees, water guns, and pavement chalk. Choose a few at a time to put in their own special bin or box in the backyard. You can keep the rest in kids' toy storage and change up the selection every few days or weeks. The mystery of what's in the box will have your kids going outside more to investigate.
When kids play outside, things are bound to get messy. Having an old set of clothes on hand is a great way for them to play freely. They can get dirty and wet, and you won't have to worry about removing stains or ruining expensive pieces. Some activities will require special gear for your kids to feel comfortable and to give you peace of mind.
In the colder months, for example, it may be hard to lure your kids away from the warmth and comfort of the couch. Get them a warm and cozy kids' winter coat, though, and they'll be more willing to head outside for some fun.
Try these tips to get your kids away from their screens and into the great outdoors. Keep it fun by doing something they like, play with them in a safe space, and make sure they feel comfortable running around freely. It may take a bit of convincing at first, but they'll soon fall in love with being outside.