It seems that fewer and fewer children play outside. This is partly due to the rise of online gaming, YouTube videos, cartoons and other technologies allowing children to be entertained and socialize from the confines of their houses. This is not necessarily a bad thing and is perhaps a part of a future that we must accept. Nevertheless, it is good for children to spend some time outside. It can promote social skills, prevent obesity, improve vision, reduce stress, increase attention span and increase their levels of vitamin D.
If you want to encourage your children to spend more time in your garden, then you should make sure it is inviting for children. Cut grass to play on and outdoor toys are key to a child-friendly garden. You should also avoid harmful pesticides such as roundup weed killer.
One great way to encourage children to get outdoors is animals. You could walk your dog together, or, if you don’t have pets then you could offer to walk a neighbor’s dog. Or you can visit or walk past places with animals such as farms.
You can take this one step further by going bird watching together. Buy some binoculars and a bird- watching book so that you can identify them together. You could also go looking for other wildlife, such as deer.
If you live near a beach, then you could also consider looking for animals like crabs or starfish.
Camping is a great way to get children outside which takes them away from technology. There might be fantastic small family festivals near to you or campsites. Make this a yearly activity and it could be something your children look forward to.
Host Outdoor Activities
Invite their friends over and set up activities outdoors. Children are more likely to want to be outside if they have other children to play with. For outdoor party ideas click here.
You could also do outdoor activities such as dying fabric, drawing with outdoor chalk, or build an outdoor fort. If the weather is nice you could also consider BBQ’ing outdoors or having a picnic.
Go for walks, runs or bike rides as a family. You could also go to parks or beaches. Make a special effort to get outdoors as a family at least once a week. It is not just children who are spending less time outdoors, adults are too. We can all benefit from time outdoors.
Getting children involved with gardening is a great idea. Take them with you to choose seeds of flowers they like or grow their favorite vegetables. They might enjoy having a sense of responsibility whilst looking after their plant. One option could be to grow something like sunflowers and make it a competition!
It is beneficial for children to get dirty, as the soil has lots of beneficial bacteria that can strengthen their immune systems.
Let Them Get Dirty
Kids love getting dirty and when spending time outside you may want to encourage it! If it is raining then get their rain boots on and let them jump in puddles. When gardening, allow them to dig for things with their hands. This might make it more fun for them and the variety of smells and textures is good for their development and will help them enjoy being outside more.
What are some of your favorite outdoor activities to do with your children?