This is a partnered post.
The need to get kids outside in the fresh air and sunshine is more prominent now than ever before. Letting your kids veg out every once in a while in front of the TV or iPad is ok, but letting them do it several days a week can be pretty bad for them. Encouraging them to get outside has so many benefits: they get fresh air, vitamin D, learn to use their imaginations, and stay active. You really don’t want them to think that the only real source of entertainment they have is on a screen.
If you’re not sure what to do to get your kids outside, below, you’ll find 11 smart methods to try. Remember, the earlier you start, the better. Consistency is key, too, as they may be reluctant to spend more time outside right away. Just keep trying – and perhaps even get out there with them to encourage them!
1. Let Them Know It’s Ok To Get Dirty
Your kids may be reluctant to go and get playing outside if they think that you won’t be happy about them getting their clothes dirty. Kids get clothes dirty – it’s a fact of life. They prefer to live in the moment rather than worry about their clothes or ‘be careful’ as parents tell them. Yes, clothes are expensive and can be a pain to clean, so have some pieces that you don’t mind getting a bit filthy. Don’t just tell them that it’s ok for them to get dirty, show them. Make sure you don’t huff or puff or react in anger when they come back with muddy clothes.
2. Buy Them Toys They Can Use Outdoors
Games consoles are sought after by all kids, but you can’t exactly play them outside. Instead, look at buying them toys they can use outdoors to encourage them. For example, you could look at the DJI Store to see if there’s a suitable drone, or you could look at simpler items like kites. Bubble makers are great too, but you can also find trampolines, slides, bikes, basketball nets, and more.
3. Limit Their Screen Time
If your kids can have free reign with the TV, then they won’t want to leave it. If you give them a time limit, they will be forced to think about what they really want to watch, and in the time they are not watching TV, they can make sure they get outside for a little while.
4. Start Gardening With Them
Gardening with your kids is an extremely healthy hobby, and a great way to teach them about flowers and plants of all kinds. Not only will gardening help them to stay active, they’ll enjoy fresh air and sunshine regularly – plus, if you choose to grow herbs and vegetables, they will be able to enjoy them in their meals and feel satisfied that they helped to grow them.
5. Plan Regular Outdoor Activities As A Family
It’ll also be massively beneficial to plan regular outdoor activities as a family. Go on walks, runs, bike rides, and anything else you can think of. Do this on the weekend rather than sit around watching TV and you’ll make great memories and bond. Your kids won’t be young forever, so plan plenty of these activities to ensure you all have fun together and make memories while you can.
6. Try Not To Micromanage Your Child as They Play Outside
When your child is playing outside, avoid micromanaging them. You can watch them from afar, but don’t instill fear in them at every turn by teaching them to be scared of everything. Sometimes you need to avoid letting your child know you are anxious so they can go off and explore and enjoy themselves without second guessing their ability. Obviously if they could be in danger you should say something, but most of the time, it’ll be your imagination running away with itself.
7. Explore New Areas of Your City As A Family
Many families live in a city for years without fully exploring it. Plan some exploration days together to get out of the house. Find hidden walks and beauty spots you never knew existed. Find fairs, festivals, and craft shows you can visit. There’s probably a lot more that goes on than you realize!
8. Organize Outdoor Playdates
Organize outdoor playdates with your kid’s friends and take them to the park, or set up an obstacle course in the garden and watch them use their imaginations. Sometimes all they need is some colored chalk and the pavement to have fun and let their creativity shine through!
9. Build A Fort Outside
Build a fort outside and you will instantly make it more appealing to your children. You could put up a tent or a tipi, or even just make one with them out of a sheet and anything else you have to hand. Let them take books in here, or arts and crafts, and they’ll love feeling like they have their own little ‘den’.
10. Play With Water
Playing with water is so much fun for kids! You can wash the car together, have a little paddling pool in the garden (but be sure to supervise young children) and invest in water balloons and guns. They’ll love playing like this, especially if you get involved.
11. Make An Outdoor Activity Jar So That They Never Run Out Of Ideas
It can be difficult to think of something brand new to do every day, so try making an outdoor activity jar to pick the day’s main activity for you. For example, you can write out the activity on a piece of paper or a lollipop stick, and then place them all in a jar to be picked out every day. You could include activities like ‘pick a dandelion bouquet’, ‘draw something with sidewalk chalk’, ‘water the plants’ – write out as many as you can think of!
How are you planning on making sure your kids spend more time outdoors? Leave your thoughts and ideas below!