When you were young, do you remember asking, “Mother, may I walk two giant steps forward?” while playing with friend outside or hopping through a hopscotch board, or listening to the swish of a jump rope as you twirled the ropes for someone or jumped during recess? I do.
It seems like these fun outdoor recreations is becoming activities of yesteryear, more frequently replaced with sedentary ones like watching a movie, playing on the Wii or other computer based entertainment.
Although the world has changed since my childhood, outdoor play is still important. It helps children develop physical skills, live healthier lives, teaches them to work together with friends or family, to appreciate and take care of their natural environment, and enlarges their imagination. As parents we can help our children learn to enjoy being outside and join them in their adventures. Here are a few activity ideas and games to play together while experiencing the great outdoors.
Play animal charades. Let kids can pick their favorite animal and act it out for others players to guess.
Bubble time. Chasing bubbles, as they flit over the grass, can fill a yard with giggles and provide fun exercise. Making homemade blowers adds a touch of creativity to the day. Find your favorite pattern for a blower and homemade bubble recipe by searching online for using the keywords homemade bubbles and blowers.
Take a nature walk in your own backyard, a park, or a nearby open area. Watch for animals; as you walk through areas they may live. Discover the different types of plants growing along the path. During the hike parents may choose to bring trash bags, tools, and gloves to help clear litter along the way, teaching children the importance of taking care of their environment.
Race paper airplanes. Let kids fold and decorate paper airplanes. Fly them to see whose plane goes the farthest. Using construction paper to fold adds color and makes planes a little heavier helping them fly better.
Play freeze tag. This is a twist to the normal game of tag. In freeze tag one or two participants are “it” and whenever they tag someone that person remains frozen in place until they are tagged by another unfrozen player. Once a player is tagged (frozen) three times by the person who is “it” they now become the tagger and the previous person joins the rest of the group.
Give each child a spot in the garden. Children can help plant their own seeds or plants helping to take care of plants as they grow and harvesting when their crop is ready. Although this is not a game it can be fun activity, full of anticipation while kids watch things grow.
Outdoor activities provide a breath of fresh air and open a world of possibilities for everyone. So step outside and into new adventures.