Ah, the health benefits of fresh air and sunshine are incomparable. Vitamin D from the sunshine helps everything from our metabolism and bones to improving our skin. It’s an essential vitamin. And there’s something that’s just good for the soul when you spend time outside.
Getting Children Outdoors
Children often need to be motivated to get outside. There are so many activities to keep them busy inside that they forget how much fun outside can be.
Once they’re outside, they’re free to run, play, climb and jump. They get up and off the couch and move their bodies the way they were intended.
Activity is good for children. But how do you get them outside? There are a few ways you can approach it.
Ask your child to walk the dog, go get the mail or have them ride their bike to school instead of driving them every day.
They’ll be spending time outside and they won’t even know you’re making them do it. Ask them to rake the leaves, water the garden or mow the lawn. Chances are, once they’ve finished the activity, they’ll stay outside.
If you go somewhere, park far away and get an extra few steps in. If you are shopping hit one more store and then just one more. Walks go faster when you have interesting things to look at. You can also mix in a “mission” with your walk.
Walk with a mission
Pokemon Go is the one that everyone has heard of and even though it has slipped in popularity, I still know families that load up in search of Pokemons. You do have other options if chasing cartoon characters doesn’t interest you.
Geocaching is awesome and easy to do anywhere. You can download the app here
Once you get the app you can get started. In a nutshell, there are boxes or containers buried all over the world with small treasures for you to find. The app will help you find them and you will find yourself looking at places you have been to before with new eyes. You need to bring your own small treasures to trade for the ones you take and you can even bury or hide a container and add it so that it really takes off in your area. Many state and local parks are the site geocaches. You can start here Nd State Parks and Recreation Areas
If the idea of a hike with a small toy at the end is still too much nature for them or you have older kids, there are other options.
Ingress is a Sci Fi themed app that turns your local terrain into a game. Their motto is, “They aren’t coming, they are already here.” You can host a meetup to meet other families that play the game and get out and move in a real time game.
This is a running app that puts you into the game using headphones. You listen to your mission and when it tells you the zombies are chasing you, you run and gather supplies along the way. It has an award winning story and over a million players. Load up and head to a hiking trail in Bismarck or Mandan and let loose on your Zombie Run adventure.
This is the sneakiest way to get them moving, but who cares?
Additionally, if you go outside to play one of these games with them, you’ll be showing them a good example. You might be surprised – if you head outside to read a book or just sit and watch the dog play, children will often follow you out there even if they sad they didn’t want to go outside..
Make It Fun
Another way to get your children outside is to make it a fun place to be. Do you have a tree in your yard? Trim it so it’s a good climbing tree. Add a swing to the tree so kids can play on it. Buy outdoor toys that kids want to play with. When they’re bored or during nice weather days, send them outside to play.
Make It a Family Affair
Take bike rides, walks, and hikes as a family. The more time you spend outside, the more your children will realize that it’s a fun place to be. They’ll grow up to appreciate outdoor activity.
Be a good role model and your children will naturally follow your reactions. Walk to places or ride your bike when you can. Spend time in your yard and just hang out outside. Create reasons for everyone to be outside.
As your child learns how much fun they can have outside, they’ll learn to appreciate it more. They’ll develop habits that motivate them to spend time outside as they’re growing and when they’ve become adults. Of course, as with most children, you’ll occasionally have to remind them to “go outside and play.”