Its a struggle to get kids active and outdoors nowadays! Doesn’t that sound a bit ridiculous? After all, what kid does not want to run around outside? Yet in this world of technology options, often kids are choosing just to stay indoors. When I was growing up, we could either play outside or read a book. While we watched some television, we had maybe five channels to choose from, not 200. Plus our computer had a green screen and was certainly not portable. (Yes, I realize that I am dating myself.) Spending a summer in front of a screen is not a goal we have for our children. How can we motivate them to play outside?
1. Go outside with them. Although getting them outdoors on their own may involve some intense persuasion, if we invite them to play catch or kick a ball around, suddenly they are more willing. While I must admit that I can be a reluctant participant at times, by the time we are done, I am having as much fun as they are and am feeling less stressed myself. When we get kids active, we can reap the positive benefits too!
2. Walk/bike/skate to where you need to go. Obviously this may not work well if your house is a bit isolated or if your children are still small, yet even you can make this happen. When you are making plans for the day, try to pick several places that are fairly close together. Then walk between locations rather than moving your car. Having been to other countries, I have seen more of this type of active lifestyle firsthand. Around here, we can rely a bit too much our vehicles and then wonder why we can all struggle with being a bit sedentary.
3. Think beyond organized sports. Many kids are involved in team sports, such as baseball or basketball, during the summer. These can be great ways to keep kids active but, consider other alternatives too. Learn how to play tennis or pickleball, another court sport that combines several elements including a whiffleball. One other fun family adventure just waiting to be had is a game of Frisbee golf. Disc golf courses can be found all over the country. You can either choose to use discs or the old-fashioned plastic Frisbees that can still be purchased at many discount stores for little to nothing. Note: you may want to have a spare one or two in the car just in case the disc ends up permanently in a water hazard.
4.Offer incentives to your kids. For instance, Fuel up to Play 60 has the 100 mile club where kids try to walk 100 miles throughout the school year. Although that may be a lot to walk in the course of 3 months, perhaps you could try to bike that far throughout the summer. Or start a 50 mile club. You could also make up a chart where a child gets a sticker for each one hour of activity. After twenty stickers, you could invest in a new outdoor game such as a volleyball net or bocce ball set. Or could you all go out for ice cream after 10 stickers provided that you bike or walk to the parlor.
5. Pick area places to explore. One of the best motivators in getting outdoors is to go some place new. Try playing at a new park. Visit an area nature center that you have never quite gotten around to exploring. Get out a map of your area and circle a 30 mile radius beyond your house. What locations have you always wanted to visit but have never taken the time to do so? Now you have your summer “bucket list” as it were. Enjoying new locations is a fantastic way to explore the great outdoors!
If you combine the tips in this article with the five suggestions to keep learning from my previous post, you have my top ten suggestions on having the best summer ever!
P.S. With all of these outdoor activities, might I suggest a Norwex product to make your outdoor experiences more pleasant? Keep a bottle of Sportzyme handy to spray down tennis shoes and equipment bags that will get a bit stinky with all of the extra use. Just because you are enjoying being more active does not mean that you need to smell that way.