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Tips for Getting Your Kids Outside This Summer

Tips for Getting Your Kids Outside This Summer

When I was young, I spent very little time inside. Video games were just becoming popular and television offered a limited choice of channels. Kids my age rode bikes or played kickball. These days, outdoor play pales in comparison to indoor life, which offers constant air conditioning, 300+ channels on the television, YouTube and video games. The impact of playtime’s transformation can’t be denied: increased rates of obesity and diabetes at a younger age. 

We always have sidewalk chalk on hand!

With all of these tempting indoor activities, making a plan to get my kids outside has become important. 

The strategy for getting our boys out the door begins by limiting their indoor options. You know what I’m talking about … the TV,  computer and electronic games need to be off limits. One mom I know set a rule with her daughters: they could have as much screen time as they wanted on the weekend, but during the week, no screens. As a result, one of the girls learned to knit. Another read multiple books.

Likewise, you may want to make a rule that for every hour of outdoor play, they get one hour of indoor play. Get the cold drinks and fun snacks ready and be prepared – they’re going to come in sopping wet and possibly muddy, so have some towels at the door. Whether it’s a Slip N’ Slide, water balloons, squirt guns or the neighborhood pool, water never fails to please. There are tons of fun water-game ideas out there that use only a few, inexpensive items.

Types of outdoor activities that your kids will be interested in will vary. My niece has three little girls. They love to go outside and explore nature via scavenger hunt,  and find different types of bugs, flowers and leaves. Be sure to explain to your kids what they are NOT to bring home (e.g., poison ivy “leaves of three, let them be!”). As our boys got older, the things they like to do outside have morphed a little. While I can’t see Rudy playing with sidewalk chalk, Ethan would. Nick and Ethan both enjoy catching lightning bugs.  One of the activities that all three of them like the most is pitching a tent in the backyard and sleeping under the stars. 

 

Outdoor time can also be an opportunity to spend time together as a family. At night, fix a special dessert and invite them to the front porch. As they eat, a conversation about the day’s events – what’s on the calendar or (heaven forbid) the coming school year – will extend your time together and help create meaningful memories. 

 

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As a mom who cares about eating good food and knowing the farmer who grew my food, I want to help other families to nourish your families with good, traceable, sustainable food.

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