The wonders of nature offer so much to children with inquisitive minds and a thirst for exploration. Whether you have a forest nearby your home, or you live in a populated city, there’s plenty for children to learn just by being out in the sun. However – our youthful generations are becoming so “wired” that some of them have forgotten how to play outside, especially after being kept inside a classroom or glued to a computer screen all day. If you are having trouble prying your kids off the couch and limiting their screen time, it’s time to pull out the big guns. Here are three tips that are sure to get them off their butts and out into the sunshine!
1.The Big (water) Guns
Warm weather means water play. If your kids enjoy fighting off zombies or aliens in their video games, help them bring virtual play to life with water guns and costumes! Gather together a group of kids for a themed water fight: humans vs. aliens, the Justice League vs. the Avengers, or witches vs. wizards.
Once your kids have caught on to the fun of outdoor water activities, they’ll be eager to suit up for an afternoon on the slip-n-slide, running through the sprinklers, or playing in the pool. These activities are not only beneficial physically – supplying your kids with regular exercise – but they are great socially as well. In the real world (you know, the one that doesn’t exist inside a computer game), your children can build better, stronger friendships and sibling relationships than they could in the virtual one.
Another great way to get your kids outdoors is to sign them up for team sports. Little League baseball, soccer, football, or even “indoor sports” like basketball and gymnastics are a great way to encourage your kids to get out and play.
Having a team, a coach, a uniform, and a schedule will help your kids feel like they are involved and doing something both fun and important. They’ll make new friends, get good exercise, learn about teamwork and sportsmanship, and use their whole body (not just their fingers) to do something fun.
Even if official organized sports aren’t your thing, a relaxed alternative could be gathering the neighborhood kids to the park once or twice a week for some kickball or tag. Or if you see kids in the neighborhood gathering for a spontaneous game of basketball or any sport, encourage your child to join in on the fun!
It is difficult for any family to make time (especially when the sun is out) to go outside to play regularly. But it’s important to put in the effort to get outside with your kids every once in a while and do something fun. Go fly kites, feed the ducks in a nearby pond, play Tarzan in the woods, have a picnic, throw a Frisbee, walk the dog, ride bikes, or go on a hike. Your options are endless.
As your family spends time outdoors together, your kids will develop a love for real play, not just virtual play. They’ll start to go out to the back yard on their own, learn to discover a world that doesn’t run on electricity, and live healthier, happier lives!
By no means do you have to cut out all things electronic, but we all know that a balanced life is a better life! Teach your kids how to play – how to really play – and see the sparkle in their eyes grow brighter!