Get your kids outside, regardless of age!
Getting kids outside is a challenge, but every year it is the same thing. Too cold, too wet or too busy. Kids are getting up at the same time in winter, but it is dark. It’s almost dark when kids get home from school and eat dinner. Also, kids often say, “I’m too old to play outside”. As video games and other social communications online are increasing, the challenge is to make sure kids are physically active and not just active on their video game systems.
First, we need to acknowledge that not all kids are made the same. Some prefer hiking and larger sports activities and others prefer chess. If you live in a seasonal area that is not covered part of the year with snow, then you have it made. Bringing your child and their game of choice, such as puzzles or books, outside. Provide a table, book table or even comfy chair.
Never underestimate the benefits of having a friend over. Even at an older age, chances are if you are frustrated with your child having too much ‘couch-time’, so are their friends’ parents. Arrange for them to get together to hang out. It’s amazing what face to face interactions can do. Encourage them to take the party outside.
Each card is categorized: B = Been Outside? O = Outside Play R = Read a Book E = Exercised? D = Do Something Helpful
Next, consider their age. If old enough, they can help make dinner. That means a trip to the store, which doubles as a learning opportunity. Regardless of gender, everyone should know how to cook and what food looks like from purchase to table! This will help get the kids outside and interacting in the real world.
If you really cannot get them outside because of electronics, get them outside WITH their electronics. Most devices have photo capture capabilities, but heading out for a hike with the goal to capture the best leaves, or most bugs will encourage social interaction outside, even for the teens. Many kids do not want to sit on the couch and forget about options other than interacting online.
It is important to remember that using these simple ideas might take some getting used to for children who don’t prefer to be outside. Begin with a short time and encourage longer and longer time outside. The purpose to getting kids outside is to include what is important to them and incorporate things they love. They might also learn to interact with friends in new ways. This will bring their attention to new and fun ways to connect with the world around them.