As children growing up we were always being told to "go outside and play" especially on weekends. This was also the standard response when we voiced our frustration about "having nothing to do". Of course times have changed. Now kids have access to so many different types of electronic entertainment that they never need to be bored. This is a blessing and a curse if not monitored.
Electronics have their value but in moderation, and this is especially true for young children. There needs to be a balance between indoor and outdoor activities. Time spent outdoors contributes so much to their growth and well-being. Exercise, sunshine, fresh air, freedom to run, play, and getting dirty all have great value. Children learn so much by being outside in nature and this is an experience that can't be reproduced through any electronic interaction.
The natural world is filled with beauty, there are so many different kinds of sounds, textures and new and exciting plants, birds and smells. When kids are outdoors, they can use their imaginations, create their own games, be noisy and be free to experience the world around them in their own unique way.
I would like to share a couple of my favorite outdoor activities that are timeless and fun for kids (and grown-ups) of all ages:
Go Fly A Kite: I kid tested this activity with my grandkids and they loved it! All you need is a little wind, an open space and a kite. All in, this is a very low cost and really fun way to spend an afternoon. To add to the excitement you can also make you own kite. This is a project that we did every year when I was in elementary school for Kite Day. I have to admit that most of my kites didn't fly very well (or at all) but I still enjoyed making them. The good news is that other people's kites flew just fine so I know it's possible. If you're feeling adventurous the link below provides simple instructions for making a kite.
Have a Picnic: There's nothing like a real old-fashioned picnic in a park, in your yard, or at the beach. Spread out a blanket, bring your favorite foods and just relax. Engage your kids in the process of what to bring on the picnic, games to play (no electronics) and enjoy your family time. Run and play all the silly games that don't require any technology such as hide and seek, scavenger hunts and tag.
A Nature Walk: Nature is everywhere once you go outside your house. You don't even have to go beyond your own neighborhood. Make this a mindful experience where you take the time to notice the natural world around you. Take a night nature walk when there's a full moon or a starry night. It's an opportunity to experience a completely different part of nature. Listen for sounds you don't hear during the day, count the stars, and be awed by the vastness of the universe. It's amazing how much beauty and life is going on around you, once you start looking.