We all remember what it was growing up. You got home from school, did your homework and went outside until supper. Sometimes later if you could get away with it! We know getting your kids outdoors is important but times have changed. For various reasons kids just don’t get outside as much as they used too! Even schools have begun restricting recess time. At my children’s school, they only get 15 minutes a day to play outside despite research that shows such down-time is more beneficial then piling on more desk work. When I went to school we got two 15 minute breaks plus one 45 minute lunch break. Granted we didn’t get home until after 4 and my kids now get off the bus at 3.
Playing outside is so beneficial to kids that I find it overwhelmingly sad that schools are brushing it aside. Getting kids outdoors during the summer is slightly easier. The weather is warmer and without school, there is plenty of time to squeeze in some outdoor time. During the fall and winter, when the evenings are shorter and the weather cooler it can be a challenge.
By the time my kids come home and do their homework (which has also reached a rather appalling amount) they have no interest in going outside. Furthermore, we can’t let them go out alone even if they wanted to. In today’s society, most of our parents would be burned at the stake for letting us run around the way we did! We can’t fix all of these issues, at least not right away. But! We can attempt to make getting your kids outside a more tempting experience for all of us!
Getting Your Kids Outdoors and Having Fun Again
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Pick up an Outdoor Family Friendly Hobby
Spending time outdoors together can be a real bonding experience for the whole family. It’s a great time to set aside our electronics, catch up with one another and just enjoy nature. This doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby either! My children love to go hiking and the cooler fall weather is absolutely perfect for visits to the local state parks. During the summer day trips to the beach tend to be the name of the game but in the cooler weather? Hiking is where it’s at. Even better the cost of entry to most state parks is very low!
Recently my youngest has shown an interest in running which of course, make her father and I very happy as it’s a hobby we also love! she has completed a few 1-mile fun runs so far and accompanying us on ‘training runs’ in the afternoons has proven to be particularly enticing. We come home with pinecones, leaves, and rocks in our pockets and the runs are less training and more scattered jaunts around the block, but she’s outside and having fun and that’s the whole point of it!
Make it a part of Your Routine
Kids might complain about chores, rules and routine but in the end, they tend to thrive on it. If your kids fuss about going out then maybe its time to make it part of normal everyday life. If it’s just something you do together on a regular basis then it will soon become something that you all look forward too!
My good friend and blogger pal Sarah over at Insecurehousewife.com has found adding a family walk into their daily routines to be highly beneficial!
“Including a walk into our daily routine has been a wonderful idea. It makes sure our son has plenty of fresh air and exercise, while also providing good family bonding time. This has benefited all of us but more so our son because it instills healthy habits from a young age.”
Make Your Yard Kid Friendly
We all love beautifully designed gardens and manicured lawns. But it’s time to make your yard a fun place to be! As a bonus, if your kids are playing in your own backyard odds are you can manage to get a few things done around the house while still keeping an eye on them.
You can pick up a variety of yard toys for kids but for nearly as long as I can remember both of my kids have loved to swing. They have had swingsets in the past but the last one died a sad death during last years hurricane season. In any case, they were both getting older and needed something with a bit more excitement to it – so you can imagine how excited I was to find this spinning bit of fun!
This tree swing from Laegendary Toys has probably become my kid’s new obsession. I even have a video of my youngest screaming she could ‘do this all day’ while whirling about on it! Seems like a winner to me!
While we hung our swing from a tree the instructions say its possible to hang it from a swingset frame if you want which is great since I know not all yards have access to trees large enough for this sort of thing! Thankfully it was also easy to put together and hang up (I let the guys do this part!)
Another plus? It’s sturdy, strong and big enough for both my kids to play on it at the same time. This is most excellent because 1) No more fighting about whose turn it is and 2) The oldest can do the pushing bit and not me! I suffered through years of ‘push me Mommy!’ with the regular swings and I love my kids, I truly do but after a couple of hours that gets pretty old, especially if you’re trying to cook out or work on something else! A yard toy that keeps my kids active and that they can enjoy on their own is a huge benefit.
Choose Outdoorsy Gifts!
Last year for Christmas both of my kids got brand new bikes. This was great because they immediately wanted to spend time going outside. Items like the swing I mentioned above, new bikes, camping gear or even smaller items like sidewalk chalk, bubbles and bug catching nets can prove to be a great source of encouragement when it comes to getting your kids outdoors.
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Getting your Kids Outdoors Doesn’t have to be Difficult!
But it does sometimes require a bit of creativity and effort! Especially once they become old enough to prefer spending their time with video games or if you happen to live in an area with few children around the same age (which is one of our problems!). Getting your kids outdoors might seem like a chore from time to time, I know we all have so much to do in our daily lives, it’s sometimes easier to just let them do what they want…
But, being outdoors has so many benefits. Think about how nice it is to just unwind in nature once in a while. It’s the same for your kids and school can be stressful. Getting back to nature is a blessing that we should all take advantage of and it’s especially nice when we all do it together!
What are Your Tricks for Getting Your Kids Outdoors?
Great post! I’m moving next week, and we will definitely put some of these into practice at our new house!
Glad you liked it! Good luck with your move, that can be both exciting and stressful at the same time!
This is such a sweet post and I totally agree that getting outdoors is so beneficial. My best memories as a child were the ones at the park having a picnic or playing football on the street with my brother! Even talking to my young cousins now, they seem to spend so much time on their iPads or watching TV and it’s so sad! 15 minutes outside in schools is honestly ridiculous in my eyes, kids need much longer play time than that!
Same! The hours I spent outside playing street hockey or hide and go seek with the other neighborhood kids are what I recall when I think back on summer breaks as a child. I think its crazy that my kids get such a tiny amount of recess.
It’s definitely beneficial to get the kids outside, and harder to do as the colder weather draws in. I think making it a habit is key, and we also make a point of getting out to a National Trust site most weekends just to blow away the cobwebs.
Same! We try to fit in visits to the state parks as often as weather and schedules allow/ It definitely makes a difference, I think we are all healthier when we aren’t cooped up inside for lengthy periods of time all winter – even if going out in the cold isn’t always what we want to do at first haha. We always have fun once we get out there!
It’s such a shame schools are losing the emphasis on this, because it really is so important. The fresh air, the physical activity and the fun are all necessities in a childhood. I love your suggestions! Great post.
It really is! I couldn’t believe it when they told me how much they had cut outdoor time. And while I can complain to the school it won’t really change anything, unfortunately!