For many adults, some of their most cherished childhood memories were those spent with friends and family having fun adventures and playing games in the outdoors. Unfortunately these days, many if not most children prefer staying in, curled up with their tablets, computers, and video games. While indoor play also have their merits, studies have found that too much of these sedentary activities promote childhood obesity, reduced cognitive development due to lack of creative stimulation and problem solving activities, and reduced muscle development due to lack of movement.
This is why there is now a growing movement to bring children back outdoors. Even our toy shop Nowra believe that playing outside and getting some fresh air has countless long-term benefits for kids of every age – and perhaps even their parents! It can train them to be creative and imaginative; it gives them physical exercise, even if it’s just mild movements. Best of all, it teaches them about their environment, which is a bottomless source of wonder and learning. If your child needs encouragement to look up from their iPad once in a while, here are a few things you can try to diversify their activities and bring them outdoors this summer.
Bring the indoors out
If your child has no interest in stepping foot outside the house at all, then it may be best to start slow. Create a seating area for them in the patio or the garden and encourage them to play with their toys there. A different setting automatically gives a different dimension to playtime, and stimulates them in whole new ways. Even if they’re glued to their tablets and mobile phones initially, their minds are naturally curious and should find some distractions in no time.
Start in your backyard
Backyards are not only close by and familiar; they are also the perfect settings for fortresses and campsites. Fortresses are easily built with sheets, wires, or poles, or cardboard boxes. Not only do these teach them to be resourceful and ingenious, it encourages them to be imaginative through role play and fantasy as well. The same goes for camping where they are experiencing something brand new for the first time.
Let them experience jumping castles
Jumping castles Shoalhaven are heaven for many. What kid doesn’t like to jump around given the chance after all? Jumping castles Nowra also encourage fantasy and creativity, especially when they start making up stories about where they are and why they’re there. Then it transforms from jumping castles to actual princess castles, and their adventures become more real.
Go on family walks or bike rides
Set aside at least one hour a week just to go out for a stroll or to go biking together. Not only does this encourage your children to be outdoors, it’s also a great way to bond as a family. Whether you do it in a nearby nature trail, a park, or just around the block, it’ll be time well spent.
Send them on a treasure hunt
Give your child a little challenge. Hide little gifts around your house or on the route they take to a friend’s house or a favourite play area. Then make a map or give them clues and send them on a scavenger hunt. Nothing sparks their imagination more than pretending to be like the heroes and adventurers in their video games. Not only will it be an exciting challenge for them, but it will also be rewarding after they find all the little treasures you’ve hidden.
Kids have naturally curious minds. Give them a little explorer’s set with a magnifying glass, notebooks and crayons for drawing their discoveries, and perhaps even a small box for their keepsakes. This is a great way to learn about little things like insects and bugs, flower buds, rocks, and basically anything that the naked eye will barely notice. New perspectives and new things are a source of endless wonder for many children, and encourage them to learn.
Look up to the sky
When was the last time you just lay in grass? Lying in the grass and assigning shapes to different clouds can be a relaxing bonding activity for you and your child. It teaches them to be imaginative and creative, while allowing you to relax and rest your mind. This is also a great activity on a clear night where you can gaze at stars, learn about constellations, and look for the man on the moon.
Go old school and teach them your favourite childhood games
Reliving your favourite things about childhood is always fun and funny. Why not give your child the opportunity to create the same memories by teaching them the games that made you laugh the hardest, those games that will always have a special place in your heart. Not only will it give your kids physical exercise, but it’ll be something special that you can share.
Whatever age your child may be, it’s never too late to encourage them to see more of the outside world and explore their environment. Whether through unstructured play or through something more educational, there are many activities in the outdoors waiting to be experienced and enjoyed.