Since I work with kids trying to pry them away from their phones, tablets and computers, I know how hard it can be to get kids to actually realize that there are other things to do other than games and social media. Sometimes I wonder if they even realize just how much there is to discover outside the world of the Internet. I remember when I was a kid I use to beg my parents for just a few more minutes before coming inside for the night. Now, you nearly have to pay them to go outdoors and do something. It’s pretty sad too, to think that the United States has more obese children than any other country in the world, and we pretty much can thank technology for that. Not that I have anything against technology, oh heck no, but there’s a time and a place for everything.
So, I’ve decided to try and help out here by offering some ideas for some outdoor activities for kids so they can learn that it’s not a hard or boring thing to get out and be active for a little bit. Things to teach them that breathing some fresh air once and a while is a very good thing.
Bug Hunting for Younger Kids
By nature kids are curious and we need to encourage them to use that curiosity and one way to do that with younger kids is to go bug hunting. You don’t even have to go any further than your own backyard for this activity and all you need is a magnifying glass and the hunt is on. Take your kids out in the yard with the magnifying glass and talk to them about the bugs they find, talk about the colors, show them which bugs will sting them and how to protect themselves from stinging insects, explain to them how certain bugs work together to build homes and so on. Let them get as close as they can to harmless insects and have them examine them with their magnifying glass. You’d be surprised at how energized the kids will be after this simple outdoor exercise.
Rock Hunting Adventure
Take the kids to a local park or to a state park and have them collect as many different sized rocks of all shapes and colors, this alone will give them some exercise as they are walking along paths looking for their rocks. After the rock hunting adventure is over you can take the rocks home and then take out some paint and let the kids paint the rocks bright and fun colors, encourage them to be creative by painting faces on them or making them into little animals.
Get together with a group of kids and have them all think of different objects from nature and then put all of these on a piece of paper, you might want to make several lists and then give each kid their own list, then go somewhere you know that they can find these objects and turn it into a regular scavenger hunt where there is some sort of a prize that goes to the first person who finds everything on the list. Make sure each person has a paper or plastic bag to collect their treasures in. Whoever comes back to your starting point with everything on the list wins the prize. Make sure it’s a prize that any age would like to win.
Backyard Water Games
When it’s hot outside there’s nothing better than getting cooled off with some water, so why not add some exercise and fun to it especially if you don’t have a swimming pool.
- Water Limbo – This is a simple and fun game to do in your backyard. You just need a hose and spray nozzle attached to it. You use the water coming from the nozzle as your limbo stick and everyone playing has to maneuver themselves under the stream of water without getting wet. Every time someone makes it under the stream of water, the stream of water is lowered a little bit making it harder and harder each time to try and avoid getting wet.
- Ice Cube Game – Here you will need one of those kiddie pools and fill it with water and then add a bunch of ice cubes. Each person will try to pick up the ice cubes with their feet and if you want to make it more challenging you can tell them they can only use one foot. The one who removes the most ice cubes is declared the winner.
- Water Balloon Pinata Game – Here’s a fun version the pinata game so many people tend to enjoy at parties. Take about 7 to 10 water balloons and fill them up and then tie them. Next tie the balloons filled with water a few inches apart onto a piece of strong string. Make sure there is enough string on either side of your balloons so you can tie each end of the string to a branch of a tree in your yard. Next you will need one of those plastic baseball bats for the kids and adults to use. Have everyone take turns swinging at the water balloons and whoever is first to pop the balloons will not only get a pleasant cooling shower but you can also have some sort of prize to reward them with after.
- Dodgeball with Sponges – This is an easy and fun game for everyone. All you need are a bunch of cheap sponges and a couple of buckets filled with water. Divide everyone up into two teams and then soak the sponges in the water and give everyone a sponge. Have the teams throw the sponges at each other and whoever gets hit with a wet sponge is out of the game and the prize goes to the last person standing at the end of the game. Just as fun as the old game of dodgeball but a lot safer and cooler!Well there you have, simple and fun things to do that will get kids off their rear ends and away from the Internet for a short time. You never know, they might actually enjoy time outdoors once they realize there’s more to life than tweets and likes.Stacy