These days, all too many kids stay inside to play video games or various activities on their phones or tablets and really only get outside during recess at school. While we all want them to get out and enjoy the sun and fresh air, that’s a lot easier said than done in most cases.
Whether summer vacation is coming up or the kids are just driving you nuts with their roughhousing inside, there are a few ways that you can get them outside more.
1. Set a Timer
They love their electronics, TV, and video games, so in order to get them off the couch and out in the sun, set a timer for the maximum amount of screen time. Once the timer is up, they have to spend an equal amount of time outside before they can return to those preferred activities.
2. Take in Nature Together
3. Let ‘Em Get Down & Dirty
Encourage them to play in puddles and make mud pies. Get them a couple of squirt cannons and water balloons and let them have a water war.
4. Set a Play Date
Let them invite a couple of friends over and then take them to a park, pool, creek, or lake. Fun activities like swimming are almost always a surefire way to get them to spend some time outside.
5. Let Them Have a Garden
Pick a spot in the backyard and let them take complete control of a garden. While they may not be able to grow tasty papayas or their favorite fruit, there are plenty of herbs, vegetables, and flowers that they can tend to and watch grow from seedlings to blossoms.
6. Go Old School
Almost every kid loves a fort and if you help them build one in the yard, they’ll likely have hours of fun. Take some old sheets, rope, and blankets, let them invite over the neighborhood kids or a few friends, and watch as they spend a couple of hours letting their imaginations fly.
7. Make It Fun
Create a scavenger hunt that includes various items from around the yard with hints to the next item. You can also include prizes and make it an “Easter egg hunt” any time of the year. To make it really fun, have the final item be a Super Duper Gold Treasure Chest.
8. Go New School
Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. The kids will have a blast as they navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and try to find the hidden item at that location.
9. Hit the Trail
Take them to a park and go bike riding or enjoy a leisurely walk along the trails. If you have a state park nearby, go out for a day of fishing or walking the various nature trails. Alternatively, pick a park or lake in a town or two over and take them somewhere new to explore.
Really and truly, one of the best ways to get the kids outdoors more is to get out there with them. No matter which activity above that you choose, they’re almost certain to enjoy it more if you do it with them.
Getting them away from their favorite electronics and spending more time outside may not always be easy, but with the tips we laid out today, you may find that it’s a bit easier than you’re used to.