Helping Kids Like Playing Outside As Well As Inside
Sometimes our children enjoy being inside so much that it is difficult to get them out of the house to get fresh air and exercise. This has probably gotten worse since our kids today have so many more options when it comes to staying inside. Once kids could play something quiet or read indoors, but now they can do almost anything inside, even sports with Wii. So, what can you do to get them playing outside?
The average child now has the equivalent of a small technology store in their bedroom. Most kids have a cell phone, a device to play music on, something to play video games on, a TV of their own and various other technological wonders.
Even if they don’t want to go outside, offer them games, puzzles, and art products to keep them occupied inside, yet away from technology. Crayola Color Wonder is a great thing to keep on hand. They can be bought online or at your local Walmart. The best part for us moms is that Crayola Color Wonder markers are mess free! If you are like me, that just made you smile! The markers go on clear but then have a reaction with the special Color Wonder paper to create the color to appear on the page. These make great breaks from electronics and school work!
Music is such a large part of many kids’ lives now that they must always have some playing as a background or backdrop to every other activity they engage in every day. Whether eating lunch or doing homework, some form or other of technology provides the sound they need.
The cell phone is a wonderful advancement for parents to keep track of their kids and their whereabouts, but it does take large amounts of time from their children’s day with all the texting going on and the constant calling.
Each part of this technological menu makes kids more interested in staying indoors and inactive versus playing outside. Parents must try to get them playing outside so they get the proper fresh air and sunshine for healthy bodies. The exercise they will only get outside is also vital to good health. Vitamin D from the sunshine is important for strong bones and normal growth.
To get kids outside, don’t just tell them to go out. Show them! Lead by example as you spend a percentage of most days outdoors. Exercise daily by walking or playing a sport, but do most of this outside so as to have healthy glowing skin and a well toned, fit body.
Making your yard enticing for your children will help them put down the electronics and head outside for some fun. The Swurfer Orbit swing is a HUGE hit for my kids. From my 17 year old, down to our 9 month old foster baby. It can be attached to a tree, a swing set, or even inside! The frame of the swing is not just comfortable to sit on but it holds up to 500 pounds! So, as long as you attach the swing to something that can hold the weight, even teens and adults can have fun!
Invite your kids to go for a walk at least once a week; more often if you all enjoy walking. Add some activity to any picnic or barbeque such as a badminton game or volleyball. Play games as part of family time outside whenever the weather lets you. This is a healthy alternative to after dinner TV if everyone does not already have sports practices every day.
Require kids to do some chores outside because when kids need to work, most chores allow for an element of fun and play. If they are washing a car, water play becomes part of it. Raking leaves is the job, but, piles of leaves are hard to resist and jumping and crunching occur. The simplest chore can be made fun outside. They need to feel being outside is just like being inside and that there are outdoor activities that can be good for them and also fun.
Parents who make the outside area of their homes as inviting as the inside will get children to spend more time out there. So make the patio pleasant and let them take their books and music to the hammock or the chaise lounge. Encourage them to be outside by adding fun things to do such as a basketball hoop or volleyball net if you have room. Even an above ground swimming pool will be a healthy asset to have for the chance to exercise at home.
For younger children, bubbles can be a big hit. We love the WOWmazing Kit from South Beach Bubbles. You can make smaller bubbles or HUGE bubbles with the same “wand”. The “wand” consists of two sticks and a special designed rope that makes it possible to make small or large bubbles depending on how you hold the sticks. The wand comes inside the kit along with a special concentrated bubble mix. Between the waving of the wand and the chasing done to pop the many bubbles, your children won’t even realize they are getting in a good workout.
A dart blasting gun may sound like a toy for boys but, let me tell you, girls love getting in on the action, too! The Adventure Force Double Fire Dart Blaster can be used inside on rainy days and outside on a pretty day. Dodging their sibling’s “bullets” will not only give them exercise but will also give them many memories!
Kids must learn about nature early so the outdoors does not seem scary or alien to them. Cloistered children seldom learn the benefits of a healthy outdoor lifestyle.