It’s getting warmer out, the sun is shining, nature is coming to life once again …and your kids are inside glued to the TV and video games. What happened to the days when kids played outside from morning ‘til night and were forced to come in just for meals and bedtime? There are still ways to get the kids excited to go outside this spring, and we’ve compiled a list of twelve fun ideas to push them in the right direction!
1. Provide Discovery Tools
Nature is everywhere, and there is much to explore! Provide the kids with some tools for doing so: magnifying glasses for examining the tiny creepy-crawlies, butterfly catchers, and containers with small holes for displaying their findings.
2. Encourage Travel by Foot
Get to where you need to go by foot rather than car. Make it a habit when the weather is nice to walk to nearby stores, restaurants, or the library. You’ll save money by not using gas and incorporate exercise into a regular activity, all while getting the kids out and about!
3. Take Advantage of Natural Resources
Is there a river or lake in your vicinity? Utilize these natural resources to your advantage. There are many areas that offer rentals of paddle boats or canoes and fishing rods, if you don’t have your own. Take the kids for a day of fishing, boating, feeding ducks, or skipping stones.
4. Create a Child-Friendly Backyard
Your own backyard is likely the most convenient place for kids to step away from their electronic devices and get some fresh air. By making your backyard child-friendly, they will be drawn to the freedom of going outside without your constant supervision, and you’ll feel at ease that they are in a safe environment you created for them. Put up a fence, buy a playground or build a tree house, add a sandbox, and get creative with your child’s personal outdoor space!
5. Go Camping
There’s nothing quite like the experience of sleeping outdoors, feeling a cool breeze as you drift off and hearing the sound of birds chirping as you wake. Load up the car and take the kids for a weekend of camping! Bonfires are a must, and the kids can help you gather sticks. Be prepared with plenty of hot dogs and s’more fixings, and they’ll have a blast roasting them over the fire. Can’t get away? Set up a tent in the backyard!
6. Plant Flowers
Get dirty and find out who has the green thumb in the family. Visit a local greenhouse or gardening center, and have your child pick out a flower that will be theirs to plant and nurture – giving them a reason to go outside every day to observe the progress!
7. Sidewalk Chalk
Chalk doodling never gets old when the sidewalk is your canvas! Let the kids explore their inner Picasso while you get a free sidewalk makeover. From tracing their bodies to playing hopscotch, there is much fun to be had!
8. Play a Sport
Playing sports offers many developmental benefits for your kids, both physical and mental. A game of catch, kickball, Frisbee, football, or even jump rope will get the blood pumping and promote interest in non-sedentary hobbies!
9. Blow Bubbles
Blowing bubbles is a great activity to do outside where the wind will carry the bubbles away as the kids chase after them! Make homemade bubbles by simply stirring together water and dishwashing liquid (1 cup water to 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid). Take it up a notch with a super-sized bubble wand or a bubble machine!
10. Go to the Park
The park is an obvious choice to get the kids out of the house and running around outside. Pack a picnic and make a day of it! Choose a park that has plenty of options for entertainment, like a playground, slides, swings, climbing walls, etc.
11. Bike Riding
Enjoy a family bike ride while getting some outdoor exercise. Pedal around your neighborhood or on local trails, and take in the scenery. As a reward, bike to a close by ice cream stand!
12. Star Gaze
On a clear night, lie on a blanket outside and tell the kids to look up at the sky as you point out the different constellations. Try to count the number of stars in the sky – they’ll be amazed at the vastness of the universe! If their interest is really spiked, obtain a book about stars for them to further their knowledge.
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