Let’s face it. In todays’ world, kids would often rather be spending their time indoors with the assortment of electronics we’ve left at their disposal. Whether they’re watching TV, playing video games or on a smartphone or tablet, the children of this new generation spend an alarming 53 hours per week using electronics. They have been plugged in, if you will, to this new world of technology and can be completely oblivious to the bounty of wonders found in nature, even just outside their front door.
According to the Harvard Health Letter, being outside benefits both your mental and physical health. It leads to an increase of your vitamin D levels, exercise (because you’re now a body in motion), happiness levels, concentration and may even increase the speed at which you heal. The question becomes this: how do we get these children to unplug and reap the benefits that nature has to offer?
Because it can be challenging to find the perfect way to get our kids outside, we put together a list of ideas to help you get inspired!
Unleash your child’s inner “Indiana Jones,” and help them embark on a journey to find the hidden treasure that your family “lost” hundreds of years ago!
First, draw a map of your local area (whether it is your back yard or neighborhood park), and cut it into three pieces. Then create a series of clues that lead to each piece of the map. Once
all three pieces of the map have been put together, the finished map will show them the X that marks the spot of the lost treasure.
So what are these lost treasures they’re hunting for? Get creative! It could be something real from your family’s history or a gadget or trinket to aid them in future explorations.
Treasure hunts are family-friendly activities that will keep your kids engaged in harmless outside fun. Just because this game isn’t connected to a big screen or lacks a controller to play with, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.
Let the night sky be your child’s big screen this summer and ignite their interest in astronomy. Take your children camping and sleep under the stars.
Camping is one of the best ways to keep not only the kids, but also us as parents, completely unplugged from technology, giving us time to appreciate the little things that we miss in our day-to-day lives like sunrises and sunsets, not to mention quality family time.
It doesn’t matter if you camp in your own back yard or at the local campground. Take the time this summer to sit down with your kids, tell ghost stories and make s’mores around the campfire.
On a hot summer day, one could imagine why your kids wouldn’t want to go outside. One way to get your kids out in summer heat is to take them to cool off in the pool. Swimming can provide a platform for a variety of family fun activities such as shark-attack, Marco Polo, categories and much more. Who knows, getting your children to swim may influence them to becoming the next Michael Phelps.
Not only can swimming be a fun and relaxing activity, it also has many health benefits. It increases flexibility, heart function and muscle tone and strength.
Get your kids to the pool this summer and let them join in all the fun!
Build a Fort or Tree House
So admittedly, this activity takes a little bit more preparation, but if you have the time (and resources), why not excite your little ones this summer by building them a place to call their own – a secret hideout! Building a fort or tree house can lead to endless hours of outside fun.
If you’re inventive, forts can be constructed practically anywhere out of anything: sheets, blankets, chairs, bushes, bikes and even fences. (Just keep in mind that easy-to-construct forts can be susceptible to bad weather like rain or wind). Tree houses, on the other hand, can provide a secret hideout that will last for years to come. Either way, these hideouts give your children a chance to express their imagination, letting them transition from spies to superheroes in an endless array of creativity and fun.
Building the fort or tree house with your children also gives you that one-on-one time that will allow you to share your past experiences about your secret hideout when you were a kid.
Family Walks and Bike Ride
To ensure good health, everyone should aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise everyday. This summer, why not challenge your family to spend 30 minutes of outside time together by going for a nice casual stroll around the neighborhood or by taking a vigorous bike ride around the park? It’s a fun and easy way to share some outside time with the kiddos and unwind after a full day of work!
We’d love to hear about your favorite family-friendly activities. Share your ideas for outdoor fun in the comments below!