We’ve been inside for several months of winter. We’re tired, lacking energy, and probably a little grumpy. The cure? Outdoor time!
Spring is the perfect time to get outside and soak up the fresh air. There is tons of research out there proving how beneficial it is for kids (and their parents) to spend time outside. I won’t preach to you why this is so important–another blog for another day–but I will tell you that after a long winter of being inside, a good dose of sunshine and fresh air would be good for all of us!
We know our kiddos need to be outside. We know we should probably also get some vitamin D. But how? What do we do once we get out there to make it meaningful and to make it last more than five minutes?
Here are 5 Ideas to Increase Outdoor Time with Kids:
1. Take your Regular Indoor Activities Outside.
Do your kids like to play board games? Do they like to color? Are puzzles their afternoon activity? Whatever it is your kiddos like to do inside can also be done outside! Taking these activities outside allows them to reap the benefits of outdoor time while doing the things they love. It’s really that simple!
2. Eat Outside.
Meal time is a wonderful opportunity to spend time together as a family. Discussing everyone’s day, sharing memories from past experiences, and dreaming about the future all contribute to greater connections and stronger relationships. So why not share this time outdoors? The memories made in the minds of your children will be even more vivid with the sun setting and crickets chirping in the background.
3. Do Schoolwork Outside.
We haven’t made it to summer yet, so homework and school responsibilities are still on your family’s plate. This doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying the outdoors! Take that school work outside. Sit in the driveway or at your patio table and let the sunshine be your motivation. According to Green Schoolyards America, children learn better while in nature. Therefore, doing homework outside is a double win: learning is accomplished and the beauty of nature is experienced.
4. Read Books Outside.
If being outside is important, reading to your kids is just as important. No matter the age–2 or 12–all kids need to be read to. Research shows (I guess I love research today) that reading to your children is not only good for their cognitive development, but also for their emotional and relational development. When you sit with your child and read to them for as little as ten minutes, you are pulling away from the chaotic world for some quality time and building a stronger bond minute-by-minute. So, take those books outside to boost that quality time to the next level.
5. Take a Walk.
Taking a walk is one of the easiest activities you can do to increase your time outside. After a long day at work and school, you and your children need to unwind. Exercise, exposure to nature, sunshine, fresh air, and the possibility for adventure make this a perfect addition to your day. It doesn’t have to be a long walk–around the block would suffice. It doesn’t have to be anywhere fancy–your neighborhood is a perfect spot. It doesn’t even have to be “good” weather–clouds, drizzle, or wind could add some excitement to your walk.
The options are endless. You can be as extravagant or as simple as you want. Just get outside and enjoy the benefits of the fresh air with your kids!