Springtime is around the corner, and the weather is beautiful. With all of the electronics at our fingertips, kids don’t play outside as often as they used to. Playing outside is a great way for kids to stay active, learn skills, and create memories. Encourage your little one to get out and play with these five tips.
1. Go to the park: Sometimes kids are bored with the same old backyard. Switch up the routine by looking for new places to go like the park. In public parks, there are swing sets, merry-go-rounds, and most importantly--other kids. Children have a fantastic way of instantly becoming friends with the child next to them in the sandbox. Playing outside at the park not only stimulates their body, but it also can teach them social skills. It gives them an outlet to run and be loud in a controlled environment.
2. Get a pet: If your child doesn’t have a friend to play with nearby, then you can get a furry friend to play with. Older children can take the dog on walks and play fetch outside. Both will love stretching their legs and getting to spend some time out in the sunshine.
3. Plan play dates: If your child finds a close friend at school, coordinate schedules with the other child’s parents to plan fun playdates. Have the kids go to the park, play around in the backyard, or swim at a local pool. It’s fun for your kids, and it can be fun for you. You get to spend time with other parents for a nice break to have adult conversations.
4. Sign up for recreational sports: Give your child opportunities to learn new sports. Sign them up for different recreational league sports when they are young so they can discover where their strengths and weaknesses are. Once you find a sport that they like, then you can help them train throughout the year to get better for the next season. Something simple like kicking a soccer ball back and forth can help keep your child entertained and hone their skills at the same time. When kids are young, playing sports teaches kids balance and coordination. Not only is it good for their learning muscles--it’s good for kids to learn how to be a part of a team. Children should learn how to encourage each other, and how to keep a high head even when they lose. Playing on sports teams will teach them valuable life lessons that they can carry with them later in life.
5. Go outside with them: Children imitate what they see. If they see you enjoying time outside, then they will be more likely to go outside and play. You can create fun activities and games to play as a family. Have a simple garden that everyone helps in, or take everyone on family hikes. When you spend time with your child outside, you have an opportunity to talk and bond. You can teach them life lessons and show them how to persevere even when things get tough.
Electronic games are ok, but they shouldn’t be the only source of entertainment for you child. Encourage them to love going outside by helping them play games and show them good healthy habits. By getting outside more, the entire family will feel better.