Outdoor play is disappearing at home, in school, and in communities. 70% of moms played outside when they were kids, 31% of their kids play outside today. I remember spending many days of my childhood outside riding my bike with the neighborhood kids. My parents would walk outside and whistle signaling it was time to come inside for dinner. Even at my grandparents’ homes we would spend the majority of our visit outside exploring the land and chasing after animals.
Fast forward to present day, I’ve notice a huge decline in outdoor play for my own kids. There are too many temptations to stay indoors thanks to advances in technology and safety concerns with strangers. Although there are many teases to keep us all indoors, as parents we must motivate and challenge our kids and ourselves to spend more time with nature outdoors.
Playing outside doesn’t have to be complicated. Find out where your local parks and trails are and give them a try. We have a few nearby and my daughter loves them. If you are having a hard time thinking of outdoor ideas, I have gathered a few for you to try out with your family.
Why is Outdoor Play Important?
If you are having a hard time believing that outdoor play is vital to a child’s development, let me count the ways getting outside is important for all of us.
Play is important for kids as it contributes greatly in the physical, emotional, social, cognitive, linguistic, imaginative and creative domains of development.
Chances are your kids will work up a sweet and burn calories while playing outdoors. Any active activity greatly reduces the chances of obesity and diabetes which are on the rise.
Your kids will appreciate all that nature offers over time. Preschoolers for one learn so much from their senses. The sounds of the wind blowing, the smells of outdoor bliss along with the touch and feel of creatures that can find such as caterpillars and ladybugs. There are simply some activities that can not be duplicated indoors. Exploring the joys of nature is one of them.
Outdoors kids can be kids. They can run far, yell loudly and laugh as much as their heart desires. They can throw and kick balls without breaking that expensive china set you got for wedding that you’ve never used. Sometimes kids just need to get outside and get some fresh air.
I think outdoor play is when the real bonding occurs because there aren’t any distractions. You truly get to know your kids in a new way.
Outdoor Play Ideas
Visit a park
Walk on a trail
Fly a kite
Play in your backyard. Jump on a trampoline.
Host an outdoor tea party
Throw water balloons
Enjoy a picnic
Eat popsicles outdoors.
Go on a scavenger hunt.
Play on a slip and slide
Selling lemonade to the neighborhood
Washing the cars
Read a book
Play soccer, kickball, any game will do!
Simply go for a walk. Bonus points: walk your dog
Plant a garden or flowers
Hunt for butterflies
Everyone can stay fueled outdoors with CLIF Kid Zbars
CLIF Kid® makes nutritious snacks from organic ingredients that are specially-crafted for kids’ developing taste buds and active lives. CLIF Kid Zbars are perfect for growing kids (and busy parents! They are easily transportable and made with organic ingredients.
These treats are non-GMO and have no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors (or synthetic preservatives).
When is the last time your family enjoyed outdoor play? Need a reminder why play is important? Check out this video to motivate your family to get outside!