Ideas for Getting Kids Outside this Summer
Nickelodeon, iPads and Play Stations tempt children to stay in the house and sit on the couch all summer. Even when the sun is shining and it’s warm, it’s hard to get them outside.
But children do need to go outside. There are so many benefits to kids playing outdoors. Studies show that time spent doing outdoor activities helps children grow strong muscles, reduces risks for obesity, fuels their imaginations, lengthens their attention spans, reduces aggression, improves classroom performance and gives them a greater appreciation for the environment.
A key to getting children outside is providing suggestions and a few simple tools for them to have fun outdoors. Here are some ideas for helping your kids enjoy playtime outside this summer:
1. Sidewalk Chalk – Kids can do so much with a few pieces of sidewalk chalk. They can draw roads for their toy cars. Or ask them to lay down and draw an outline around their body, then have them draw on features like a face, hair and clothes. Use the sidewalk chalk to draw a hopscotch board. Of course kids can just use their imagination and cover the driveway with artistic masterpieces. Here are some more sidewalk chalk ideas.
2. Bubbles – Bubble are always magical. Send kids outside to blow bubbles. Have them chase and try to catch the bubbles for extra fun. Here’s a recipe for homemade bubble solution.
3. Fireflies – Do you live where fireflies come out after dark on summer nights? Head outside with the kids to watch the fireflies. Try catching some. Just remember put them in container that allows them to get some air. Let them go after the kids have a chance to observe them. Here are some tips for attracting fireflies to your yard.
4. Tent – Pitch a tent in the backyard. It’s a great place for kids to read in the afternoon or you can have a camp out overnight. Try one of these ideas to make your own tent.
5. Backyard Picnic – Spread a blanket on the grass and have lunch outdoors in the backyard. Better yet, head to a local park with a playground for your picnic where they can play afterwards.
6. Nature Scavenger Hunt – You can do this in your backyard, at a park or along a trail. Have them see how many varieties of wildflowers they can find. Since you can’t always pick the flowers on public land, use a phone to take pictures of all of them. Here are some more outdoor scavenger hunts you can go on.
7. The Dog – Use the family dog as an excuse to get the kids outside. Dogs need outdoor exercise too. Have them play fetch or Frisbee with the dog. Take the dog on a walk together or visit the local dog park.
8. Family Garden – Plant a family garden. Choose vegetables the kids like. It will provide activities all summer when they help weed and water then later harvest the bounty. Make gardening with kids fun with these tips.
9. Play in the Rain – A rainy day doesn’t mean children have to be stuck inside. It it’s not storming, send them out to splash in the puddles. Try these ideas for playing in the rain.
10. Water Fun – Fun in the backyard really can be as simple as letting the kids run through a sprinkler on a hot day. Older kids can have a water balloon battle or hand out squirt guns to everyone and let them attack.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids have at least an hour of outdoor playtime each day. Have fun using these tips and ideas to get outside with your kids this summer.