School is out for summer, giving kids lots of free time and some unstructured fun. We all know how important it is for children to break away from the confines of indoors, put away their video games, and get outside to play. But how can you encourage them to do so?
National Play Outside Day is the first Saturday of every month, a day families can vow to get outside and doing something fun together. The benefits are great! Spending time outdoors as a family is fun, develops a habit of exercise, encourages exploration and creates an appreciation of nature and the environment.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
But how do you get your kids to put down their entertainment media and step outside? If your child isn’t apt to just “go outside and play,” make it a family affair. Go for a bike ride, go to the nearest playground, have a picnic, shoot hoops at a nearby outdoor basketball court, take a nature hike, go to the beach, go camping.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
If you expect your child to spend some time outside but you’d rather sit on the couch watching TV, then you’re not leading by example. Go for walks, take up gardening, make getting outside a priority for you too.
WORK IT INTO THEIR SCHEDULE
Children thrive on schedules, and many are already on one. Wake up, eat breakfast, play with toys, take a nap. Try to work going outside for a few hours into the schedule. If your child is a teenager, demand they spend some time outdoors. Explain that this is now part of the daily routine and they’d better get used to it.
SIGN THEM UP FOR A SPORT
Sports are a great way to spend time outdoors and have countless other benefits. Let your child pick a sport they are interested in and are more likely to stick with. If it goes well, add another sport if you can.
It’s easy to stay indoors all day, but venturing out into the great outdoors for at least part of the day has countless benefits for your entire family. Start planning now to make your outdoor adventures fun and desirable!