Thinking back to when I was growing up, I remember being outside…a lot. When the weather started getting warmer and the days got longer, my brother and I would head outside after school. We’d come in for dinner, and then head right back outside until dark. It’s just what we did. Honestly, we didn’t have much else of a choice nor did we need one. It’s what we wanted to do.
Today it seems like playing outside isn’t a first choice among this generation of kids. It’s not what they choose to do when they have “free time” and that’s unfortunate.
Enjoying the outdoors isn’t something that should have to be forced upon our children, it should be natural for them. They shouldn’t get bored because they have nothing to do. There is an entire world outside with a plethora of things to do no matter what age they are. The great outdoors should be their escape. A place where they truly CAN be a kid and stay a kid.
And we should be able to enjoy it with them!
Playing outside can be one of the cheapest and easiest ways to reduce the stresses of everyday life, for both kids and adults. A place where we can all pretend and let go. Where we can watch our kids actually BE kids.
I recently sat down with my soon to be 5 year old daughter and asked her to tell me some of her favorite things to do outside. Some of her ideas were your everyday outdoor activities, but others I found to be very creative. Simple things that may typically be done indoors, but can very easily be done outside.
So take it from a kid and try something on her list easy & fun outdoor activities!
- Go to the park. It’s the top of her list and one of the easiest ways to get outside and enjoy the outdoors.
- Fly a kite
- Draw with sidewalk chalk. Whether you draw a picture that covers your entire driveway, play tic tac toe, or make a hopscotch course; sidewalk chalk is a win!
- Blow Bubbles
- Go for a bike ride
- Take a walk. Maybe it’s just a short stroll around the neighborhood or even a couple of miles on a nearby trail.
- Climb a tree
- Run through the sprinkler
- Paint your nails. Choose your favorite color (or for my daughter it’s a new color for each nail), a paper plate, and get an outdoor manicure!
- Plant flowers or a garden. Let your child have their own pot or their own section of the garden and let them be in charge or watering it and making sure it gets plenty of sunlight.
- Read books
- Go for a hike in the woods and look for “treasures.” We personally love the Palisades and Squaw Creek.
- Do art projects such as painting. Take some washable paint, a big piece of paper or a canvas, strip them down (if they are younger) and let their imaginations go to work!
- Lay on a blanket and watch the clouds. Look for shapes/animals in the sky. Let your creative mind soar!
- Go to a splash pad
- Have a camp out in the backyard with a campfire and s’mores. If you don’t have a tent you could just blow up an air mattress and sleep under the stars. Check the forecast first, of course!
- Play in the rain. Splash in puddles. Then go on a frog hunt!
- Go on a scavenger hunt. Whether it’s around the neighborhood or just in your own backyard. You can search for different bugs, different types of leaves, or different colors. Or search for different things found in the outdoors (i.e. an acorn, a flower, a bird’s nest).
- Have a picnic outside on a blanket under a tree
- Go fishing
- Play catch
- Have a tea party
One of my favorite songs on the radio right now has a lyric that goes as follows:
I believe kids oughta stay kids as long as they can. Turn off the screens, go climb a tree, get dirt on their hands.
Those are wise words, don’t you agree? Get outside and have some fun!
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