Years ago, playing outside was the norm. On a sunny Summer’s day, Mothers and Fathers would send their kids out after breakfast and tell them to be home before dark. The children might pop in here and there throughout the day, especially when hungry, but they had no problem spending their entire day outdoors.
Somehow society has shifted and outside play isn’t as common as it used to be. More than ever, it’s important that we encourage kids to get outside, away from screens, and into the great outdoors.
Easier said than done, right? The draw of technology and air conditioning is strong! Not only that, but parents tend to be highly concerned with letting their kids roam around outdoors for hours on end nowadays. Things have changed and with that change has come a move towards the indoors and inactivity.
Still, most parents understand the importance of outdoor play and spending time in natural spaces. However, they don’t really know how to encourage their kids to put down their devices and head outside.
Here are some practical ways you can encourage kids to get outside more often:
All children have their favorite indoor activities; playing with toys, making arts and crafts, and so on. By taking the things your kids love outside, you are introducing them to a new and exciting way of engaging with their favorite things. Not only will moving activities outside spark inspiration for your children, but it will also get them out the door and into the fresh air.
If you want your children to do something, do it with them! When children aren’t accustomed to going outside to play by themselves on a regular basis, there’s a good chance they’re going to be hesitant when you tell them to do it. Instead of creating contention when you want them to go outside, invite them to join you for some time together in the great outdoors. You can take a walk, have a picnic at the park, bird watch, play a game, or do some other family activity outside. It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you’re outside and you’re together.
Don’t just limit yourself to your backyard. Get creative with the places that you go outdoors. Visit a nature preserve, go on a hike, or explore a new and exciting area. Talk to people around you and find some neat places where you can take children. Consider it to be a new adventure – for both you and your little one!
Things are always more fun when they’re done with friends. A great way to get kids excited about going outside is to invite their friends to join. If you’re going to a beach, the playground, or some other neat outdoor space, ask a friend or two if they’d like to come along. Your kids are more likely to be happy about going outside when they have a friend to go with.
There are so many outside chores that you and your kids can do together; plant or tend a garden, dig a sandbox, fill bird feeders, take the dog for a walk, pull weeds, and more. Invite the kids to come outside and join you in the outdoor chores. They’ll get fresh air, spend time with you, and get some work done, too.
Don’t worry about dirt. Don’t worry about mud. Kids often get dirty when they’re playing outside and that’s okay! Let them play and make that mess. Just be ready to run that nice warm bath when they go back inside.
Encouraging children to play outside doesn’t have to be hard. You just have to think outside the box and get creative. There’s so much to do in the world outside of your four walls. Do your best to encourage kids to get outside more – it’s good for them and you!