11 Ways To Help Your Kids Spend More Time Outdoors
If you’re like a lot of adults, your favorite childhood memories probably include swimming in lakes and building forts in your backyard. That’s less true for children today. Only 6% of children ages 9 to 13 play outside on their own in a typical week, according to The Nature Conservancy.
Among preschoolers, almost half aren’t taken outside by their parents for a walk or playtime each day, says a study published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. That same study found that the factors affecting outdoor play probably aren’t what you’d expect. Family income, neighborhood safety, and hours spent watching TV had little effect. What mattered was having plenty of playmates and parents who exercised regularly. What can you do to help your kids spend more time outdoors? Take a look at these ideas for encouraging your children to go outside.
Benefits of Outdoor Play:
Build healthy bodies. Sun exposure provides Vitamin D, which builds strong
bones. Physical activity also promotes motor skills and agility.
2. Develop strong minds. Spending time outdoors has been found to stimulate
creative thinking, problem-solving abilities, and higher IQ scores. It’s good for
mental health at any age.
3. Connect with nature. Direct contact with plants and animals can help children
to understand and value the environment. They’ll be more likely to make responsible choices as they grow up.
Outdoor Activities Close to Home :
5. Limit hours online. While moderate TV time is usually okay, observe reasonable boundaries. Set a curfew on any screen time before bed, and limit internet usage apart from schoolwork.
Outdoor Activities Away from Home:
1. Take a hike. Walking and hiking are great exercises at little expense. Keep comfortable shoes in your car so you can go exploring when you come across something interesting.
2. Visit a park. Take advantage of local and national parks. Look up what amenities they offer like pools, fountains, and workout circuits.
3. Go camping. Invest in some tents and other basic gear to see if your family likes sleeping outdoors. You can plan longer and more adventurous trips as you become more experienced.
4. Plan active vacations. How many vacation days do you have saved up? Choose destinations where your family can spend significant time outdoors. Go snorkeling in the ocean or skiing in the mountains.
5. Ride your bikes. Take your bikes out for leisure trips or even to run some errands. Check out the bike trails in your community.
Help your children to enjoy the fresher air and unstructured play in the great outdoors. They’ll be likely to grow up happier and healthier and achieve more.