It’s no surprise that the more time we spend on electronics (smart phones, tablets, computers, television), the less time we spend outdoors. As our lives become more and more consumed with technology, it’s getting increasingly difficult to get children outside connecting with nature and friends and away from the television and computer screens. While technology does offer many benefits to children in this day and age, socializing with friends and partaking in outdoor activities is also essential for their physical, mental and social development. Here are some ideas on how to get your kids, and yourself, to give the electronics a break and enjoy the great outdoors.
Camp in the backyard
If you can’t afford to take the family camping, set up a tent in the backyard and let their imaginations run wild. Roast marshmallows and tell them scary stories. Let their friends join them for a slumber party, or make it a family event and camp outside with them.
Invest in a trampoline
A trampoline is a great way for the family and/or neighborhood kids to get together for a good time. Not only will this have your kids begging to go outside and play, they will be getting exercise as well. Read some reviews to find the best trampoline for you.
Send them on a treasure hunt
If your children enjoy hide-and-seek or hunting for Easter eggs, set up a treasure hunt for them. It will coax them outside and also get them working on some problem-solving skills.
Teach them games from your childhood
Remember the days of playing Kick-the-can, Capture the Flag, and Red Rover? Get the neighborhood kids together and teach them to play. This is a great way for them to connect with other friends, all while getting some exercise.
Take a family bicycle ride
Go for a bike ride to a nearby park. Maybe even pack a picnic. Play a game of I-Spy or try incorporating a scavenger hunt while you ride. This is another great tactic to get them exercising and connecting with nature.
Build a Fort
Let them exercise their imaginations and build a “secret space” of their own with old blankets, cardboard boxes, tree branches, etc. Let their creativity run wild!
Go on a wildlife walk
Take a stroll around the neighborhood, or even just around the house. See how many animals and insects they can spot – birds, squirrels, butterflies – whatever you might come across. You could break it down even more and see how many types of birds they spot. They might even learn a thing or two.
Sign them up for a sport
Have them choose at least one sport they are interested in and sign them up. This is a great way to get them involved with other kids and to keep them in shape. It gets them out of the house and brings out their competitive side, which is a great motivating factor.
Turn on the sprinklers
Nothing is better than running wild in the sprinklers on a hot, sunny day. Throw in a slip-n-slide and they will love you forever.