There’s a recent documentary trending on Netflix about social media and the harm it can cause. Young, developing brains are not equipped to navigate these sites well, yet the average youth spends an inordinate amount of time on electronics in the form of gaming and social media. Although Covid-19 exacerbates this issue, many opportunities still exist to get kids outside, keep them active and limit their time on electronics. Use some of these suggestions to inspire your family to head outdoors for great entertainment.
Kids need a minimum of 30 minutes of daily physical movement. Staying active outdoors delivers benefits not only for physical improvement but also for emotional and mental health. While some of the ideas are obvious, consider ventures your family already loves or try a new activity to stay in shape and have fun at the same time.
- Bicycle to a beautiful spot or go hiking at a local park.
- Head to the beach and go swimming, surfing, boating or fishing.
- Take up golf. You can decide whether regular or miniature golf works best for your family — no one’s going to judge you!
Adventure Game Activities
If you and your kids need a little more excitement and motivation to get moving outdoors, turn routine projects into adventure games. These activities help make the transition from indoor to outdoor pursuits, or they can add a new spark:
- Scavenger Hunts: Create an intriguing list of items your children can gather from the outdoors, such as unusual rocks, special leaves, or bugs and cocoons. Tailor the items to the ages of participants and get as specific or challenging as needed. Have them search with a friend and make it a competition to see who can gather the most items or complete their list the fastest.
- Photography walk: Find an interesting local spot and take a photo hike. You can choose any urban or natural environment. Each person takes along a phone or camera and then shares the prettiest or funniest photo with everyone at the end.
- Camping or a picnic: Get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors overnight. Head to the beach or a state or national park and pack some special treats. Enjoy a group meal on a blanket or an extended time together in a tent, RV or cabin. Don’t forget to check out any activities offered by the campgrounds.
Emotional and Social Activities
Many of these endeavors play a dual role in supporting both the physical and emotional health of family members of all ages. You can also practice self-care and teach your child to do the same with these undertakings:
- Practice meditation or prayer outdoors: Many people find these activities to be extra beneficial when done in nature.
- Journal or paint: Make some sketches or write down a list of things you are grateful for outdoors and then share them with each other.
- Perform the love circle: Family members sit in a circle, and one person is selected to stay in the center. Players take turns speaking words of encouragement to the person in the middle. The center participant should make eye contact with whoever is speaking and simply say “thank you” before listening to the next person. Once everyone has poured inspiration into the individual in the middle, that person joins the circle and someone else takes over the center. This process continues until everyone has been the center of attention.
Make the outdoors a learning experience by combining educational opportunities with fresh air. Here are some ideas to get you going:
- Practice math with counting and measurements. Count how many houses are on the street, how many steps it takes to reach 10 feet or how many sidewalk squares are in a certain area.
- Teach the scientific method of hypothesis, research, observations and conclusions. Learn about local birds, plants and animals. Build a terrarium.
- Make bubbles or try a messy scientific activity, such as baking soda and vinegar volcanoes, outside where you don’t have to worry about cleaning up the entire kitchen.
The opportunities for creative things to do outdoors are almost limitless. Have you done some fun or entertaining things that we haven’t covered here?
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