New Ways to Get Your Kids Outside This Year

As parents, we all want our kids to spend more time outside during their free time. When they’re outdoors, they seem to entertain themselves more efficiently, and their creativity flows. Indoors, there is the temptation of screens, and the ever-present “mom, I’m bored!”. It’s not always as simple as just sending your kids outside, though. Even the happiest child may not be too excited to just play with the dirt and weeds in your yard. So, how do you get your kids outside more this year?

Cold weather activities

Right now, in most places, it’s pretty cold outside. That makes it difficult to send your kids outside. You don’t want them to get sick, and so playing outdoors has to be much more closely monitored. First and foremost, don’t feel bad for keeping your kids indoors when it’s cold outside. This doesn’t mean you should press them to be glued behind a screen, but focus on productive activities indoors. When you do send them outside, to build snowmen or just play in the snow, make sure they are bundled up so no snow can get inside their clothes. Check on them every 10-20 minutes to ensure they are still warm and comfortable. You could also organize a ski or snowboarding trip, to introduce them to new ways to enjoy the cold weather.

Maximize your yard for playtime

Once it’s warmer, sending your kids outside is so much more simple. It’s as easy as sending them outside, and stationing yourself nearby to keep an eye on them as they play. Like mentioned earlier, your child should have things to play with besides just dirt. You should encourage them to play with the things they find in nature(making mud pies, creating a fort out of fallen branches, etc.) but if you want your kid to play outside for an extended period of time, you should have a yard that they actually want to play in. Having a grassy area that is safe for them to play in can be important, as well as designated outdoor toys.

Experiment with new activities

Sometimes, getting your kids outside is a bit of a wrestling match. This is when new activities are really important! Things like new sports, a trip to a different park, or even something like visiting a farm or equestrian park can get them excited about being outside all over again.

Tell them it’s okay to play messy

We often discourage messes among our children. You know that if they roll around in the mud, you’re going to have to bathe them, washing their clothes will be a nightmare, and there will be mud tracked all through your house. However, sometimes our disdain for cleaning up messes keeps us from letting our kids play and exercise their imaginations to the fullest. It’s hard to justify, but letting your kids know that they can play messy will open up the doors for so many more fun memories that they will develop. Messes can be cleaned up.

Organize a playdate

If your kid is kind of bored outside, organize a playdate! Inviting a friend over just means that you have less entertaining to do. You still have to keep an eye on them, but having a friend to play with will help them be more creative, and keep them outside longer.

Involve them in gardening

Gardening and yard work doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore. A lot of children enjoy learning about how things grow, and so involving your children in gardening is actually an incredible learning experience for them. You don’t have to view this as an activity that will quickly become messy. Set boundaries with your child before you begin, and then maybe give them a corner of the garden to be their responsibility. They will gain a sense of ownership over the garden through helping you, and are likely to avoid playing in it and destroying it.

Suggest having a picnic

There’s something about taking your lunch outside and calling it a picnic that just makes it a much better meal. If you’re trying to kill time until naptime, make some sandwiches, and head out to eat in the yard. Pull out a blanket to sit on, and enjoy the magic of a picnic.
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