Most people over a certain age can recount countless stories about the fun they had as children while enjoying outdoor settings. Today, the most memorable moments of many childhoods take place inside. Many parents would like to see their children spend more time enjoying outdoor activities, but they struggle to come up with strategies to make this happen. Here are some ideas you can try.
Limit Screen Time
Many children spend too much time watching television, surfing the web, or viewing posts from friends on social media. While these activities are not harmful in moderation, there can be a number of negative consequences to the child that spends too much time doing these things. The first step to limiting screen time for your children is to lead by example. All children are greatly influenced by the behavior they see from their parents. Parents should also remember that not all decisions they make will be popular with their children. When you set the viewing times for your children, be willing to stand by your decision and explain to them why the decision is necessary.
Protect Them from the Elements
It is important to protect your children from nature and the elements when they play outside. The heat from the sun is a major concern. You can protect your child from sunburn by applying sunscreen to their skin half an hour before they go outdoors. Do not forget to apply sunscreen to lips, nose, ears and the tops of their feet. You should also take measures to protect your children from dangerous bugs and pests. Planting the right herbs and flowers in your yard can make it relatively free from mosquitoes and other pests. This is a great eco-friendly way to keep your kids safe from the bugs without using chemical-ridden pesticides.
Make It a Game
Playing outside can be a little uncomfortable at first for a child who is not used to being outdoors very much. You can make the process a little easier by promoting outside activities as games that can be enjoyed by the entire family. There are many ways that you can do this. Ideas include building forts in the backyard, having treasure hunts in an outdoor area and taking timed bike rides or nature walks. The options are only limited by your imagination.
Teach Them to Play with Nature
Teach your children to use nature's resources as play equipment. Boulders can be used to climb, they can jump from tree stumps and use logs to play balancing games. Nature will allow your children to use their imagination while they play. They will enjoy the free and unstructured play that nature will provide to them.
The benefits of playing outdoors are too many to state. But, many parents find it difficult to coax their children into spending significant time outside. With a little patience and creativity, you can help your kids see the fun that awaits them outside your door.
Playing outside with your kids can be great for your whole family. Try one of our family mats to sit on outside while you watch your kids play!