When I was a child I was playing outside with my cousins all day. We would climb trees and build forts. We would ride our bicycles up and down the road and sword fight with sticks. We weren’t afraid to get down in the dirt and play.
At my Grandparents house, we weren’t allowed inside until meal times. Once meal time was over we helped clean the kitchen and out we went. Once it was time for bed we were called inside to get cleaned up and go to sleep. She wasn’t strict; however, she understood the importance of being outside. She was out there with us and never once complained; unless we forgot to take our shoes off at the door.
Fast forward roughly 20 years. Now we are all huddled around our phones and tablets cooped up inside.
How can we fix this issue? It starts by getting outside with our children.
Sending our children to play outside has so many more benefits than them just being cooped up inside the house. It gives them the chance to learn problem-solving skills, something they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. They will also have the opportunity to build their immune systems and soak up some vitamin D as well.
With the rise in more sedentary activity reducing the rate of childhood obesity is also very important. In 2015 the CDC stated the rate of childhood obesity is at 17% or 12.7 million children. That is frightening! We cannot let this trend continue, and unfortunately, our schools aren’t helping a whole lot these days. My child gets less than an hour of outdoor playtime at school. Granted they do get P.E. a couple times per week. Why can’t we replace the nap times that were removed from our children’s schedules with more outdoor play or learning? We as a family need to disconnect from electronics and get outside. We cannot simply rely on our schools to get our children outdoors.
I think one of the most inspiring for me is a mom in my neighborhood. During the summer her kids were outside for the majority of the day. This prompted my child to go out and make new friends and play outdoors more as well. By simply putting my own shoes on and going outside with the baby my oldest daughter follows. My girls want to be with me all the time. I am their greatest influence. Reducing screen time and increasing outdoor time is one of the best things we can do for our children. Why not set them up for a healthier tomorrow? They are our future after all.
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Here are a few activities we do to get outside more:
We play with sidewalk chalk. I buy the biggest package I can find at Walmart and it lasts forever.
We bought a drone. Yes, this is a little controversial for some, however, we live in the Midwest and we don’t use it for spying. My daughter really loves for her father to chase her around with it and do tricks for her.
We adopted a pet and she lives outside. We routinely go out and give our kitty love and attention.
Water toys. Water guns, water balloons or just a good ole’ sprinkler. My girls have outdoor toys to ride on. Scooters, battery-powered four-wheeler and a bicycle. They love to ride these toys. It is mine and my husband’s goal to get bicycles and one of those nifty trailers and start riding bikes as a family.
We go on walks. Simply put we are spoiled. We live in a nice neighborhood. We have neighbors that are our friends. We throw on our shoes and go for a walk and see any number of people that our family knows personally.
What do your kids enjoy doing outside?
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