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12 Ideas to get your kids outside

Updated on July 4, 2014

Why I wrote this hub.

I have four kids and it provides me the opportunity to talk to other mothers on a regular basis. I find it interesting that their number one complaint is that they can’t get their kids to go outside. I had the idea to write this hub with some suggestions in helping to get your kids outdoors.

My father always tells stories of his childhood. He says he was out by dawn and didn’t come back home until he got hungry then he would go back out. We live in a different world now. I can’t let my four kids out of my sight all day long. It just isn’t safe. My first suggestion to getting your kids outdoors will meet with the strongest opposition

Ride a Bike

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It's bike time so grab your lawn chair.

1. Grab a lawn chair and sit outside with your kids. As I mentioned before I have four kids that range in ages from 4-11. Three of them are boys so we are outside a lot. I grab a lawn chair and keep an eye on them. I watch them and read a book but I do go out there. This is very hard for most people I think because we all seem so busy. There is karate and soccer, and baseball. Maybe we need to dial things back a notch and just enjoy being together in our yard. The outside may do you some good as well.

2. Ride an assortment of bikes. We have your general two wheelers and we have green machines. I have written a separate hub on green machines entitled Green Machines Make Great Gifts that may explain their benefits better. We also have scooters and a skateboard. There are many things to choose from and many things to rotate through. If cost is a problem then look on craigslist or at neighborhood garage sales. Compared to the price of video games I think that bikes are pretty reasonable.

Sidewalk Chalk Time

Luke and a box of chalk
Luke and a box of chalk | Source
Jack, Luke, Sam, and Noel are getting in some drawing time.
Jack, Luke, Sam, and Noel are getting in some drawing time. | Source

Invest in some chalk and an assortment of balls.

3. Never underestimate the fun of sidewalk chalk. Sidewalk chalk is cheap and fun. It washes off in the rain and is non-toxic. Sometimes I will get down there with my kids and draw with them. They love it and we draw funny pictures of each other. My autistic son loves this. He will spend hours drawing fantasy worlds on our driveway. He once drew an ant world equipped with roller coasters and houses and stores. It was awesome. It is very calming to him when he gets frustrated.

4. Have an assortment of balls. Have footballs, basketballs, tennis balls…etc. on hand. Play catch with your kids. Let them play soccer in the yard. A neighbor gave me their old basketball goal just to get rid of it. Don’t critique them so much. Let them play their own games and make up rules with each other. This kind of play keeps my kids occupied for hours.

Decorate Your Driveway

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What do your kids like to do outside?

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Make Friends or Play on a Swingset

5. Make friends with your neighbors. I have four kids like I said. My kids are lucky because they always have someone to play with. Most people don’t have that many children so I understand how it would be hard to get your one child to go outside and play by himself. If your neighbors have kids the same age let your children play with them and keep an eye one them. Since I have the most kids on my block most of the kids just come to my house. They argue and they have fun. I think it’s really good for kids to figure out how to get along with other people and resolve their differences. I think it prepares them for life.

6. Put up a swing set if you have the room. We have a swing set in the backyard. When I can’t be out there with my kids they go out back. It’s great for when I am cooking a meal. We couldn’t afford one so when my third son turned 6 we asked both of our families to help us purchase one for his birthday. It was what he wanted and it helped out with the cost. The family even helped us put it together. He would spend hours on the swings no matter what the temperature.

Swing Set

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Pool Time

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Go swimming or go fly a kite.

7. Play with water in the summer. Put in a pool if you can afford it. If not buy a small pool, or a sprinkler, or a slip-n-slide. Fill a bucket with water or sail some stick boats in a puddle. Kids love the water and it wears them out. It’s a win for you and them.

8. Find a park if you don’t have a yard. Take your kids to the park now and then. It’s free and it gets them outside. Walk the trails or bring a kite and fly it. Kite flying is a great thing to do at the park and kids love it. You can buy a cheap kite at the dollar store. So basically your kite flying trip to the park cost you a dollar. That is not too bad at all.

Do some work in the yard or go fishing.

9. Have your kids help with the plants and yard. Tell your kids you will pay them a certain amount of money to come outside and help you weed a flowerbed or garden. Teach your son to mow and pay him a small amount. These things teach them how to take care of a yard, how to manage money, and it gets them outdoors.

10. Go fishing. My kids love to fish. I know this is not for everyone but if you enjoy fishing take your kids along. Now I know your fishing license and admittance to some lakes my cost a little but it is something different to do. Get your kids up early one morning, pack a lunch, spray them with Off, and go catch some fish.

Gone Fishing

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Read or Talk

11. Let your kids read outside. I have spent many a day outside under a tree or on the back porch reading with my kids. They bring their Calvin and Hobbes or their Princess book or their Spiderman comics outside and read. We each have our own separate chairs and we are just together in the quiet. It’s nice.

12. Buy Sonic drinks during their Happy Hour and sit outside and talk to your kids. This is great because your kids get to pick out cool drinks like Cherry Limeades or Miami Sunrise slushes. You get to pay half price and you talk. You’re outside talking and connecting with your kids. It’s a win-win situation.

Reading Time

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5 Benefits to Going Outside

These are just twelve ideas that I have done with my kids. I know allergies for some is a concern so I would also mention that three of my four kids are on allergy medicine all year long. They have a problem with cool, night air so we avoid that. I know that there are more serious allergies out there and there is a cause to stay indoors but that is not the case for everyone. The benefits to being outside are more than I can count.

  1. It encourages imaginative play. They get to make up their own rules to games and play with their friends.

  2. It gets your kids away from the t.v. for a little bit.

  3. It runs off some energy. Like I said three of my four are boys and boys have a lot of energy.

  4. After being outside kids sleep great. This is a good thing for you and for them. Put the kids to bed a little early and enjoy some quiet time alone or with your spouse.

  5. You can meet your neighbors and make some friends. Your kids get to learn to make friends with people they don’t know.

Conclusion

There are some things I would caution you with in being outside for long hours. In the heat of the summer make sure your kids are drinking water and are wearing sunscreen. I try not to swim during the heat of the day. In the winter make sure your kids, especially the ones with allergies or who may be prone to ear infections, are wearing their hats, coats, etc. I would also say to keep an eye on your children. Know your neighbors. Teach your kids street safety. Give your kids boundaries.

It’s hard to find time to do some of these things and I know it is easier to just sit in front of the t.v. It is also hard when your kids are in a multitude of activities. But let me say that childhood is precious and fleeting. They are only with us for a little while. Make some good memories with and for your kids. Give up some of your time so they can just play and be kids. They will grow up fast and soon have the responsibilities of the world on their shoulders. Let them be free and have fun. Let them be bored and make them use their imagination.

Well, I hope these are some helpful suggestions to you to get outside with your children. I am simply writing from my own experiences and I hope you will read this in that light. Thank you for taking the time to read this and go play.

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    • joycampbell profile image
      Author

      Joy Campbell 3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thank you! Yes I do feel like I have my hands full. I think that is why we are outside so much. There is so much energy here.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 3 years ago

      Lovely ideas here - and you must have your hands full with your beautiful children. Thanks for sharing!