Kids used to grow up playing with tadpoles in their backyard pond and looking under rocks for creepy crawly creatures. Today´s kids are fascinated by computer games to the exclusion of just about everything else in an age defined by technology and a variety of electronic gadgets.
Unfortunately, the technology-based activities that have our kids in their grasp are largely sedentary and do very little to help them use up the natural stores of energy they were born with. If you have kids, you know just how hard it can be to get them “unplugged”!
Still, there´s so much to be said for getting your kids outside and involved in nature while they are young.
A lot of kids today simply have no idea what to do once you get them away from their computers and out into the “wild”. Here are some of the benefits of having family fun, the good old-fashioned way!
Share in the fun – Your kids are more likely to follow your lead when you actually DO what you say. If you´re constantly trying to get them to go outside to play, then you should head outdoors as well! The more you play with your kids outside while they are still young, the more likely they´ll be to adopt an active lifestyle.
Enjoy Quality Time Together – Spending time with your kids outside is a wonderful way for you to see what they really enjoy doing. You may even want to share some of those old-time favourite games from your childhood like hide & seek, freeze tag, hopscotch and “red light, green light”.
Healthy is as healthy does – From riding bikes and walking to tossing a ball and playing Frisbee, we´re generally more physically active when we´re outside. The more your kids see you moving, the more tempted they will be to get in the game!
Coordination is a learned skill – Activities like playing ball, rollerblading and tumbling on the grass are all great ways of helping your child strengthen and improve their coordination and dexterity. Like with everything else, the more they practise it, the better they´ll get.
Help them discover their passion – Spending time doing a variety of activities with your kids outside can open up a whole new world of new and fascinating things for them to become interested in. Consider planning and going on a bug hunt together, or what about taking up bird watching? Try out some new sports or head up to the mountains to do a bit of hiking.
Of course, being outside doesn´t always have to do with competition, so ask your child for some ideas and use your own imagination – there really is no limit to the fun things you can find to do outside!
De-stress & relax – Your kids are no less susceptible to everyday stress than you are. And spending time in nature is one of the best ways of relaxing and letting go of that stress. Now that the days are longer, make a point of heading outside for some outdoor family time – relax, have fun and you´ll all feel better!
Memories in the making – Whether your kids are 4, 8 or 18 years old, make spending time together outside part of your family tradition. Explore the great outdoors, go on picnics, play sports together, laugh and have fun. The happy memories you gather will accompany each of you your whole life long.
Though it can often seem easier just to let your kids have their way instead of putting your foot down and forcing them away from their video games and computers, in the long run, you will be doing your family an enormous favour. We all need physical activity to stay healthy but for growing bodies, it is essential!
Even if all you can manage is 30 minutes a day, make a point of getting everyone outside together. Trust me, it won´t just lift your spirits and make you feel better, it´ll draw your family closer together in a way little else can.