Once the gorgeous temperatures replace the nasty overcast snowy days it seems logical that children will naturally seek time outside away from screens, exploring. But, what if they don’t? We all want to encourage our children to be active. We all want them to be healthy. And most of us also want our children to engage with the environment, disconnect and just play outside. If your kids are at all like mine, they can all too easily fall into this pattern of forgetting to seize the moment. Too often they reach for the TV remote, or the computer, or the Nintendo. So, how do you gently encourage them to unplug and move outside when the weather makes being outside easy. Well, I have collected a few tips for moving the kids outside.
Five Ways to Get Your Kids Outside (When they really want to reach for the Nintendo)
1. Have a swingset (like the one above by Kettler – available at Learning Toys. ca) That encourages movement and is attractive to various ages. When the playground is in your backyard, it’s impossible to resist. Plus you really don’t need to go anywhere else and you are pretty appealing to all the kid’s friends.
2. Tree house or climber. We have had a climber for years. We invested in a quality set when my youngest was about three and it has been endless hours of fun for both kids, the cousins, the children’s friends and us, the parents. The tree house part of our climber is all connected and it gives the kids a stage to play out dozens of scenarios a week. Also when they want they can go there and really disconnect, hide out, read, draw, play house, pirates, or pilgrims. I love climbing up the rock wall and sliding down, regardless of weather. Which brings me to point number 3.
3. Get Outdoors Yourself. It’s good for you. Plus the kids need to see their parents being active, in order to follow suit. That’s common sense. It’s fun and it builds your relationship.
4. Garden. Give them a spot to get dirty, or to watch stuff grow. My kids have had their own garden for several years. They water and dig and hunt for bugs and slugs and frogs. They learn how things grow and then eat what they grow. It doesn’t get better than that. If you want to get fancy, give them hats and tools and a gardening bench. Maybe even a wheelbarrow (great for sensory seekers.) The physical input of pushing the weight helps to calm kids with sensory processing disorder.
5. Balls. Even if you have no other toys around, you’ve got to have balls. A ball can be such a great tool. Walk by a ball and try to resist next time you are in someone’s backyard. It’s impossible. You have to throw it or kick it or pick it up to toss in the air. It’s easy, low cost, low maintenance and fun.
I was not compensated for this post. I thought my readers might be interested in some tips.