Is it just me, or does it seem that kids just don’t seem to play outside as much as they used to when I was a child? From Amber Alerts to swine flu scares, society has changed to the point where kids are discouraged from playing outdoors–and some kids may have come to even hate it. Who can blame them, with video games and TV so readily available indoors?
Get them outside, I say! The environmental caretakers of tomorrow are the kids of today who learn to love the outdoors. It’s good and healthy for kids to feel the sunshine on their faces and the fresh air in their lungs, and to see these things as precious gifts that must be preserved.
Here are six outdoor activities for kids to get them to play outdoors (safely) and love it:
1) Teach them to fly a kite. I still remember the sense of accomplishment I got from getting a kite to take wind just so and watch it soar up to the heights in an explosion of color. Then the challenge became to keep it aloft instead of having it crash back to Earth. There was also the assembly of the kite itself.
Take your kids out to the park and teach them what you learned yourself when you were their age. They will probably love learning to fly that kite just as much as you did!
2) Teach them to garden. Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I just bought a house with a huge yard that I intend to convert to a garden. I also have two wonderful step-children in my life. I intend to teach them to garden–not only will they learn how to have a green thumb, but it will spare me having to do some of the weeding and raking. I’ll have them do it instead! They learn to garden and appreciate nature, at the same time that they end up assisting my own efforts. A double win!
3) Make outdoor kids games or a swing set available to them. If you have the space, install a swing set or other outdoor kids games they can use to while away the time instead of sitting in front of the computer or TV. If not, then take them to the local kids park where they can play with other children. Not only will they join the outdoors, but they’ll pick up valuable social skills as well.
4) Sign them up for little league. What could be more gloriously outdoors than a beautiful spring or fall day at the little league ball park? Your kids will spend lots of time outdoors with their friends. They’ll also get exercise and learn important motor skills.
5) Stargazing. Many a kid has looked up to the stars and dreamed about reaching them someday. Your kids could easily be our astronauts and pioneers of tomorrow. Kick start their love of astronomy by taking them outdoors at night and showing them the visible planets and constellations. If city lights are a problem, that might be a good reason to take your kids camping (or at least somewhere less urban) for a night or two. A telescope that can be used outdoors only magnifies the fun.
6) Get them a bike. This is one of the most basic things you can do for a kid. Just about any child will love zooming around outside. They’ll pick up a valuable skill while they’re at it too. Just make sure you teach them to wear a helmet!
Do you have other ideas for outdoor activities for kids that will get them to put down the Playstation? Post them here!