Nowadays, children spend most of their free time with screens, such as tablets, televisions, computers, and smartphones. However, it is important that they get valuable time outdoors, both for their physical and mental health. Here are some of the ways that they can spend their outdoor time, and forget all about the technology that they use for most of the day.
A colorful activity that is good even if you live in urban areas is chalk drawing. You can buy chalk for relatively cheap at almost any store, and you will also be able to encourage creativity in your children. Rather than leaving them on their own, you can also show them different games that you can do with chalk, such as hopscotch, tic-tac-toe, and a myriad of others.
Bug and Bird Watching
One way to teach your child about nature, and the diligence of learning and collecting information, is through activities like bug and bird watching. You can give them a journal in which to track new finds, and show them how to look up information on the species that are common in your area. For example, if your child finds an ant in your yard, help them identify whether it is a pharaoh ant, a carpenter ant, or a thief ant.
Walking the Dog
A great way to instill responsibility in your children is by having them help out with a household pet. Walking a dog encompasses many different skills, such as time management, responsibility of another being, and getting daily exercise. You can go on family walks with your children and have them hold the leash, or if they are old enough, trust them to make their own schedule and walk the dog by themselves when they see fit. Your pet will also be getting much needed outdoor exercise.
Riding a Bike
Children have always loved bikes, and despite the prevalence of more indoor activities in the past few decades, there is still a huge market for the machines. A bike is a wonderful Christmas or birthday present for any child, and it can also serve as a way for them to independently go places without requiring transportation. When your child is starting out, they can ride around the neighborhood, but if they develop biking as a hobby, they can even tackle mountain biking or ride to school rather than taking the bus every day.
Hiking with Family
No matter where you live, there are guaranteed to be hiking trails that are not too far from your area. Hiking with your family on a weekly basis can serve the dual purpose of getting outside and exercising, as well as spending valuable hours together that you may not have the option for during the week. If you have younger children, you can find leisurely trails that do not require too much skill to navigate, but you can also tackle mountains and tougher terrain as they get older. This is also a good way to show them local plants and animals that can be seen in your region.
Going to a Local Park
The park has been the go-to of parents for decades, as they are both a great place for children to play, and for parents to meet other parents with similar interests. Interacting with other children at the park can teach them valuable social skills, important skills like how to share, and help them to make new friends. If you move somewhere new or you are still getting to know your neighborhood, a park might be an option for making friends or joining a playdate group.
You do not need to feel hopeless about encouraging your children to go outside and do activities that do not involve screens. With these options, there are always things to do that are entertaining and healthy. Your child can grow up with exposure to all sorts of outdoor hobbies, so they will never be bored.