Children nowadays are accused of being lazy, disinterested in anything productive, and having absolutely no interest in experiencing the world outside. What happened to the good old days when children got up on a Saturday morning and willingly ran outside to play? Many parents blame it on cable TV, video games, and cell phones, but in comparison aren’t these things a lot more advanced and fun than playing outside with a ball or a stick? Instead of screaming at the young ones to go outside and play, parents should match the outdoor activities with those inside to get the kids off the couch.
Stimulating the mind and body outside
The minds of children are constantly stimulated through social media, movies, and virtual reality video games, but their bodies consistently remain immobile. There are fun activities to do outside that will stimulate the mind of a child and keep the body active at the same time.
Gardening for children
This is an activity that children will love. It involves getting dirty and has so many goals to accomplish just like the video games they play. Parents can provide a spot at the backyard, soil treatment, safe gardening tools, and a variety of seeds for children to be creative.
Even if you are a gardener yourself, this is an excellent time to teach the young ones how to use the internet constructively. Let them see that there are numerous websites offering free step by step instructions on how to start and maintain a proper garden. Give them this start and watch them learn how to care for living things, research helpful information on their phones and computers, stretch those legs outside more often, and show appreciation for life in general.
Studying insects and plants
Call this a real old fashioned activity for kids with nothing else to do, but this generation will love this game more than ever. They have the advanced tools to make it even more interesting than what the children had long ago.
Parents can set a day in the week for children to go outside in the yard with a magnifying glass, voice recorder and digital camera, or simply a Smartphone that does it all. Give them a mission each time that involves insects and plants found in the yard. Some missions may include naming five different insects or plants, following one insect around and telling the story of his journey, or studying one colony of creatures as much as possible.
After each mission is complete, encourage children to research on the internet what was found to confirm their findings. Ask them to use their voice notes and online researches to write down in a scrapbook their entire experience and findings during the mission. Allow them to print their photos to illustrate the scrapbook.
Activities to improve motor skills outside
Children need to exercise their muscles and the best way to do so is outside. Provide children with the gear that they need so they would go outside on their own and build a daily sweat. Here are some suggestions that will definitely draw the attention of your children to go outside and play.
Riding a bicycle
Give your children a bicycle to ride. If there is no room around the yard for riding, dedicate a day to take them to the park to ride with the wind. This is an excellent form of exercise, a child can have fun riding on his or her own, or can race with other children while improving face to face social skills.
Swimming in a backyard pool
Children love water games especially when the days are hot. Provide a backyard swimming pool with safety gear such as swim wings and life preservers and your children would be staying outside more than you want them to.
Have you ever seen how excited both children and adults get when they visit a park and see a swing? Bring that same excitement to your backyard and see your children enjoy being outside.
Climbing and sliding
A slide in the yard is a brilliant equipment for children to get exercise. While you need them to climb that ladder to build muscles, they need to climb it just to experience that 3 to 5 seconds of fun when they slide.
Parents can create challenges for children to meet using a scoreboard. Since it is in their nature to be competitive, a new challenge every day will ensure that your children stay outside and get a lot of exercise trying to be the best in whatever challenge you set. Here are some challenges for children to play outside using numbers or times to meet:
– Bowling challenge
– Skipping rope challenge
– Hula hoop challenge
– Pogo stick challenge
– Ping pong challenge
– Racket ball challenge
– Shooting hoops challenge
May 2017 www.sweettntmagazine.com
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