As I watched my seven-year-old cavort around the living room a few nights ago, I realized anew how much our children need to move their bodies. Allowing my daughters ample playtime in the hours after school is a high priority with me. On nice afternoons, we’ll often take fifteen or twenty minutes to stop at the neighborhood playground on the way home from school.
We attempt to get most of their homework done in the car so that, except for piano practice, they are free to play when they get home. If the weather is at all bearable, I sent them outside for at least thirty minutes before or after supper each night. Here are several activities that might help your children want to be active outdoors.
- Take a family walk or bike ride.
- Have bats, balls, rackets or other equipment available for them to use. My husband recently invented a game with our girls in which they hit a small plastic basketball with a badminton racket and run some bases. It’s an interesting combination of sports, but they have lots of fun playing it!
- Send them on a nature hunt around the yard. See how many types of leaves, rocks, sticks, etc. they can collect in a bucket.
- Inexpensive dollar store items such as jump ropes, bubbles and sidewalk chalk can provide plenty of creative play.
- In warm weather, water is always a winner! Give them a bucket of water and paint brushes so they can “paint” the house or driveway. Make a few water balloons for them to toss back and forth. Fill a bucket with water and let them use play dishes or tea sets to make an outdoor “meal,” then “wash” the dishes when they’re done.
- Help them create an obstacle course with items from the garage such as bikes, beach chairs, coolers, etc., then see how quickly they can make it around the course.
- On wet or rainy days, let them play in the rain! Our children love to use their umbrellas (or not!) and splash around in the puddles.
What activities do your children enjoy doing outside?
Allowing my girls to burn off some of their energy outdoors works for me! Find more tips and ideas you can use at Works for Me Wednesday hosted by We Are THAT Family.