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Do you catch yourself telling children how you would enjoy going out to play as kids? If so, it could be a sign that young members in your family are spending less time outside, which is way different from what you’re used to.
There may be various reasons for this change, but a lot of it may be lifestyle-related. With the presence of mobile devices in many homes today, children are becoming exposed to mobile gaming more and more. Some children also attend organised groups after school, so they lack the time and energy to do different activities for kids. This is really unfortunate, considering that outdoor activities offer many benefits for children.
Spending time outdoors gives kids an opportunity to explore their surroundings and feel comfortable in them. It’s also a great way to make new friends, not to mention that moving about makes them physically and mentally alert. There’s no doubt that kids can acquire many skills from being outside the house.
This makes it important for you to exert extra effort, so kids will find outdoor activities more appealing. From here, they’ll be encouraged to go out more and sweat it out under the sun, too.
If you’re worried about how to make things fun for your kids outside of your home, you could check out this infographic for some simple ideas, tips, and tricks.
Outdoor Activities for Fun-Filled Learning
By nature, children like playing and have a very curious mind. This makes outdoor settings the perfect venue to let your kids have fun and learn at the same time through the following activities:
- Scavenger hunt
Scavenger hunts involve looking for items in the natural surroundings that your kids could classify into groups.
Walk leisurely on the park with your children and conduct a scavenger hunt for leaves, stones, flowers, and the like. Go to an area where there are various kinds of trees or plants. You could have your kids look for leaves with different line patterns and lay them on the ground.
Later on, they should count how many kinds of leaves they found. To make sure the winds do not blow the leaves away, you could ask your children to find different types of rock and place them on top of the leaves.
- Bike ride
Biking can be a reliable way of getting your kids outside. Let them ride with you on a bicycle sidecar. Alternatively, you could let them ride one of those with training wheels to make them feel safe as they try to move the handlebars and pedals.
Before your bike ride, you could check out which communities or areas have bike trails that lead to spaces like parks, riverways, or lakefronts where you could cool down after your ride.
- Photo walk
If you think your children have a knack for photography, a photo walk would be an enjoyable activity for them. You don’t need to buy an expensive camera with tripod when you have your Polaroid camera sitting at the back of your closet. A cellphone cam will also do.
The idea is to look for subjects that seem interesting to your children and allow them to try their hands on taking a snapshot or two. You might be surprised that some kids have a good eye for things around them, so immersing them in this type of activity can help them hone their talent early on.
- Build a fort
We’re not talking of high-walled forts complete with security cameras here. Your kids will only need to set up a simple, makeshift structure in your backyard where they can take cover for fun while you play strategy games, for example.
Help your kids plan how they’ll build their fort, what materials they’ll be using, how they will keep it secure, and the like.
- Flower or fruit picking
With this activity, you could expose your kids to the idea that flowers and fruits are gifts from nature. If you’re growing flowers in your own garden, you could pick some of them and put them in a vase to be placed in the family room or your kids’ bedroom. If you have fruit-growing trees, ask your children to hold the fruit basket for you as you pick fruits, which you could include in your next meal at home.
- Kite flying
Every childhood memory should include kite flying, don’t you think? Your kids will be thrilled as they send a kite up in the air and watch it move with the wind.
Also, you’ll only be needing common household materials to make a kite, such as a string and coloured paper or recyclable plastic. You could have your children make drawings on their kite as they want to make it look more attractive and personalised. It’s a simple way to demonstrate to your kids that they don’t need expensive toys to have fun.
- Fishpond construction
A fish pond would not only be a good addition to your garden, but it could also bring your kids beyond the four walls of your house more often. Every day, you could have your kids feed your pet fish and scoop out leaves that fall into the pond with a pond fish net. It would also give your kids a sense of accomplishment as they see the fish grow over time, thanks to their pet-rearing skills.
Disadvantages of Screen Activities
Spending time with your kids outside isn’t just to change things up. It has health impacts, too. Here are some disadvantages when your kid has too much screen time:
- Sleep Deprivation
Children who keep electronic devices in their bedroom may suffer from sleep deprivation. This happens as children stay up watching movies or playing games late into the night. Another explanation is that their body inadvertently interprets the blue light from the screen as something that corresponds to daytime, so they’re not able to get the sleep they need.
- Childhood Obesity
Excessive screen time could lead to childhood obesity because of the sedentary nature of the activity. Sitting for long periods of time prevents children from using up their energy, especially if they’re consuming high-calorie junk food at the same time.
- Vision Problems
Spending long hours in front of mobile or computer screens increases the likelihood of vision problems among kids, ranging from eye strain to short-sightedness and more.
- Body Pains and Aches
Children who are glued to their gadgets could experience body pains and aches, especially in the head, neck, and wrist areas. Kids could get too engrossed in playing games that they might not realise that their body parts are positioned at odd angles for a long time.
Preparing for That Big Day Outdoors
Don’t forget that you’re dealing with kids, who can be rowdy, hyperactive, and easily bored at times. You’ll need a game plan to help you manage your children’s behavior and needs outside the house.
Proper clothing. Put something comfortable on your kids so that they won’t be restricted in their movement. If they’re wearing wellies, choose ones that feel light on their feet.
Gear and equipment. This pertains to anything your kids might need while outdoors: journals or sketch pads where they can paste photos they took, tote bags to keep your children’s belongings intact, snacks, umbrellas, and the like.
Safety and security or first aid kit. Put name tags on your kids’ backpack, along with your contact information, so it’s easy for someone to reach you in case there’s an emergency. Bring along a medicine kit and bottles of water, too.
Schedule of activities. This will serve as your itinerary for the day, including places you’ll be going, departure and arrival times, and the estimated budget you’ll need for each activity. It doesn’t mean, however, that you should be following this to the dot without leaving room for some surprises or spontaneous events that your kids might enjoy more.
Back-up plan. Suppose you had planned to go bike riding, but rains suddenly started pouring as you were heading out to the park. You should be able to come up with something else to do unless you feel you could do some rain dance with your kids.
Kids and Outdoor Life
Kids are kids only once. While they’re at this stage, they should have enough opportunity to have fun, play, and learn in different environments. Take them out and do fun activities with them. There are many places that offer outdoor services and activities for kids. The most important thing is for them to enjoy their childhood.