15 Fun Outdoor Ideas For Your Child
Created by Tanuja Sodhi Updated on Jan 02, 2014
Hop-scotch, Hide & Seek, Simon Says….anyone? Silence. No takers! TV, gaming consoles, smart phones, iPads….anyone? High chances that we may get a resounding cheer from children. While our most precious childhood memories are riveted around simple outdoor fun activities like running, swinging on the tree branches, skipping ropes, skating, cycling, playing games like hide & seek; the children today are fixated to the screens almost infinitely. They are at an immense risk of passing their childhood by, without being able to enjoy the simple and carefree fun that it characterizes.
In a recent poll on parentune, 87% of children spend more than one hour everyday on gadgets and more than 50% spend more than 2 hours daily on gadgets.
Getting our children to spend a minimum stipulated time outdoors daily not only works on building their confidence and self esteem, but also increases their physical fitness levels, mental agility, and social, emotional, and educational development. It is our responsibility as parents to encourage our children to step out to experience a brighter and more positive world outside the four walls of our homes.
Here are a few fun-ideas for you to plan outdoor time for your children:
1. Encourage your child to reduce half the time from her screen-time daily. Prevail with her for her to play outdoors, even if it means playing unstructured games such as Hopscotch, Hide & Seek, Four Corners, Jump Rope, Simon Says, etc.
2. Go for a walk at least once a week on a muddy, shrubby trail with your child. Allow him/her to explore. Do not interfere or offer assistance unless asked for. Let him/her find the way. You may also check out a related program, which encourages learning amidst the nature called Youreka nature campouts.
3. Send your little one to the nearby garden/park with a notebook and a bag to collect ‘wild treasures’ like cones, peculiarly shaped leaves, pebbles and more. Encourage her to make note of anything interesting that she observes. She could even click pictures if she so feels.
4. Encourage your young ones to feed birds. This will get them closer to loving and caring for other living beings. Besides, feeding birds can be a great stress-buster.
5. Help your child to organize a ‘trash pick-up hour’ within your neighborhood along with his/her buddies. They could go out with a garbage bag each to pick things like dry leaves, stones, food wrappers, plastic objects, sharp and dangerous objects from the residential paths.
6. Take your child out on a bright and sunny morning during vacations every day for an hour each, to sunbathe while observing the natural environment, you may play games like frisbee/hand ball/scrabble, etc in the park. This will also ensure that they absorb the sunshine vitamin (read vitamin D) without any extra effort.
7. Encourage your child to go bug-watching with a magnifying glass. Ask her to take pictures or draw. Later, she could identify the species by searching through the net.
8. Go on a biking spree with your child. Exchange jokes and funny anecdotes and enjoy on the way to make it a fun and a much sought-after family activity.
9. Visit a zoo with your little one. Children are fascinated by watching a variety of animals. This is a fun way for your child to learn about animals, food chain, sounds they make and more.
10. Send your young adult to run an errand for you like buying vegetables/fruits/milk for a day. This will not only make him/her feel more responsible but also give him/her a sense of importance, also make them aware of seasonal foods and their prices.
11. Encourage your child to walk your pet dog outside at least once every day. Encourage her to playfully run with the pet or play ball with her. This will also ensure that both, your child and your pet get some exercise.
12. Introduce your child and his/her friends to flying a kite. It will not only give your child a real high, but will also help him/her exercise.
13. Go bird watching with your child to a nearby a sanctuary. It is one of those interesting hobbies a child may be introduced to from an early age.
14. Encourage your child to plant a sapling in your residential area with the help of a local gardener. He and his friends may even volunteer to water the plants around their residential blocks every Sunday. This could hone his gardening skills in the bargain.
15. Plan to go star-gazing one night along with your child. Coordinate with some amateur/professional astronomers in the area who could lend or rent out their telescopes and binoculars.
Remember, outdoor activities also provide a child a platform for experimentation. So, let him/her break free from the shackles of the screens that lure him/her away from the simple pleasures of being a happy and carefree child. Let them have the opportunity to explore, wonder and discover the unknown and expand their horizons…..moreover, let’s gift the children of tomorrow a healthy future as parents of today.