There is nothing better than feeling the sun's rays beating on your face during a warm, sunny day. Unfortunately, electronic screens tend to pull young children and teens for hours at a time. Youth are now spending all their time cooped up in their homes and they miss out on the health and education benefits that spending a few hours outdoors provides.
There are many physical and mental benefits to outdoor play for individuals of all ages. According to the National Wildlife Federation, outdoor play not only provides a way for children to exercise and move their body, children also receive vitamin D, which helps prevent diabetes, heart disease and other health problems. The National Wildlife Federation also states that outdoor play helps improve a person's distance vision and lowers the chance of nearsightedness. In addition, outdoor play can help reduce ADHD symptoms and help children do better in school and improve their critical thinking skills.
If your child is one who is stuck in front of a TV, computer or cell phone, not all is lost. With a little creativity, you can make the outdoors more appealing and increase your child's interest. Here are five simple activities your children might enjoy while playing outdoors.
1. Obstacle course
An obstacle course is a simple and fun way to get children active. Find several random objects around your home such as hula hoops, chairs, boxes, cups, ropes, etc. Let your children create an obstacle course with these objects. Once the course is complete, you can time your children and watch them improve their scores or race them yourself. Your children may find that just creating the course is as fun as running and participating in it.
2. Fruit painting
Fruit painting is a great way to let your children express their creativity and make a little mess. All you need are a few large pieces of paper, paint and different types of fruit such as apples, strawberries and bananas. Cut the piece of fruit so one side is flat. Dip the flat side into paint and use it as your paintbrush. This is a fun and different way to get children's minds active. And if your child doesn't care for the dirt and grime found in the outdoors, this is a great way for them to still receive a little vitamin D.
3. Toy wash
Does your child have several toys that could use a good wash? Let your children give their toys a good bath with a toy wash. Fill up a big tote with soap and water. Let them put on their swimsuits, play in the water and have fun cleaning their toys. It is a win-win for everyone.
If you have older children, you need something that will capture their attention. Take them out on a night hike. Gather flashlights, and hiking gear and take a hike through nature while the sun is down. This is a fun way for them to learn about the outdoors and receive a little exercise, too.
5. Buggy Kits
If you have a child with a fascination for bugs, make a bug catching kit. You can include a small net, a magnifying glass, tweezers, small containers and any other necessary items for catching and examining nearby insects. This is not only a great way for your child to spend time outside, it is also a great educational experience. However, you may want to keep a close eye on your child during this activity to make sure he stays away from any insects that could potentially harm him.
Playing outside has many benefits for individuals of all ages. If your children lack any excitement for getting a little sunshine and they are glued to their electronic screens, find an activity they may enjoy and spend some time together soaking up the sun.
Courtnie is an editor for FamilyShare.com and has a degree in journalism. She has a slight obsession with running, newspapers and large fuzzy blankets. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband and two sons.