Spending time outdoors plays a crucial role in the healthy development of your kids. Of course, not every kid will come forward to take part in an outdoor activity, but as a parent or teacher, it is your responsibility to work towards encouraging children and making them interested in participating in different physical activities and explore the beautiful outdoors.
Outdoor playing and outdoor activities for kids are important for several reasons. Firstly and most importantly, the different advancing tasks that they should learn, such as gross and fine motor skills, risk taking, exploring new things, and attaining as much basic knowledge as possible, can be done efficiently only by playing outdoors. And the second and often overlooked reason is that, advancement in technologies have almost completely taken away outdoor play from kids; also, busy parents, unsafe neighborhoods, extra educational pressure, and other such factors tend to refrain children from what our generation enjoyed and learned from the most.
So, whether your kids are bored or you have a cranky toddler running around your house, take them outside and engage them in some physical activity. Let them run around under the sun, with a bit of breeze hitting their face. If you are not sure or unaware of any type of outdoor activity that can interest your kids, here are our top recommendations:
The basic process of a scavenger hunt is to prepare a list of things, and have the kids find those and return them to the allocated space as fast as they can. When it comes to this outdoor activity, you have several different types to choose from and numerous ways of organizing the same. You can have the kids play individually or form teams with the kids in your neighborhood. Here are some ideas:
- First, create a list of things to be found, print it out, and hand over the list to the kids. Also give them a bag to collect the items. If you can, try to laminate the list sheets to prevent them from getting torn, and also you can use the same during some other time.
- You can hide all the items on the list in your backyard, garage, and anywhere around your house. But make sure they are easily accessible to kids. You can include things like leaves, rocks, seeds, sticks, feather, etc.
- Another option is to conduct alphabet hunt, in which each kid or team should find an item for each alphabet given to them.
- One other idea is to give each team a different list of things to find, which they should be allowed to collect only by going around the neighborhood and asking people.
Kids will absolutely love the thrill of having to find different items, and will be more enthused when playing as a team.
Water limbo is a great outdoor game for those hot summers. Everything you need for this game is a water hose fixed with a spout that can spray water steadily, acting like a limbo. Similar to the famous limbo dance or game, kids should move their bodies under the spray of water, but without getting themselves wet. The spray should be lowered after each child successfully passes beneath the previous one. Even if kids get wet, they are going to enjoy it when doing it with their friends.
This is a fun activity to be conducted during your kid’s birthday party or a block party. You will need: scarves, ribbons, or bits of cloth long enough to tie together the legs of children, and ropes or chalk.
Use the ropes or chalk to mark the start line and the finish line of the race. Separate kids into pairs; make sure to pair kids of similar build and height to make it easy for them to move. Make each pair stand next to each other, with their arms around each other’s waist or shoulder. Tie the pairs’ inside legs (the left leg of the kid on the right and the right leg of the kid on the left). Line up the players at the start line, and have them walk fast or run towards the finish line to beat the other teams. This physical activity will help kids learn to work as a team, and to learn about and work on each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Slip ‘n Slide
One of the most fun-filled outdoor activities that any kid will enjoy is slip ‘n slide. In addition to being a great way to beat the heat, this is also something you can enjoy doing with your whole family. For making a quick and cost effective slip ‘n slide, here is what you should do:
- Visit your nearest hardware store and purchase a roll of plastic sheet (10×100 foot should be long enough). This will cost you just around five dollars.
- Choose a declining area in your backyard or anywhere you plan to build the slide. Even flat grassy surface will be good. Now, roll out the plastic sheet.
- Choose some weights (something that won’t hurt the kids when they hit it) to hold the sheet tight. Sandbags would be perfect for this. Soak the sheet fully with water using your garden hose. Place the hose at the top area of the sheet to have continuous flow of water.
- That’s it. Let the kids slide and enjoy.
If you or any of your family members love gardening, you can also encourage your kids to join in the activity. Introducing your kids to gardening at an early age is the best way to teach them about eating fresh and healthy. Also, unlike other activities and sports, this isn’t something that gets stopped within a short span of time. Once your kids get involved, they will have themselves occupied in watering, weeding, and taking care of their garden throughout. Who knows, years later you may not have to visit the farmer’s market often.
No matter what type of outdoor activity you choose for your children, make sure you provide them with new opportunities to learn and develop.