It is now summertime. The outdoors is calling your name (or your child’s name). One of the greatest things that Mother nature presents to children and adults is the opportunity to explore nature, whether it is hot, cold, clean, dirty or even MUDDY! Laughing and exploring in nature brings children together, parents together, and most importantly FAMILIES together.
“Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.” –Walt Whitman
As the long days continue to produce sunlight way past dinner time, take time with your children to explore your surroundings. Discuss with your child that different things that they can do near you. Do you live on a neighborhood block with a park or community swimming pool? Do you live on farmland in the country where neighbors have wildlife ready for viewing (horses, cows, sheep or goats)? Do you live in a large, busy city where there is always something new happening? It doesn’t matter where you are, one of the most important opportunities to insure a child is to allow them to move their bodies, get exercise and BREATHE in fresh air.
With today’s children having access to the internet, Ipads, smartphones, computer games and video games, we are seeing more and mores studies on the importance of “getting” them outside. What used to be routine outdoor time, is now becoming more and more scarce due to busy lives, safety concerns and exciting indoor games to play. Sometimes, with the hustle and bustle of daily lives, it is hard to fit in “just one more thing”, but some great, unstructured time outdoors is one of the most important. Take the time for at least 20 minutes per day to spend time outdoors WITHOUT any screens for your emotional health, your physical health and your relationships.
Fill out our FREE SCREEN TIME GUIDE to support your family spending less time with electronics and more time with each other.
Activities if you live in a busy City:
- Take a walk around the city block. Have your child look for signs. Can they read the signs? Help them read the letters and spell out what they say.
- Red Car, Green Car, Blue Car and More? While walking around the city, ask your child to pick a color. Now look for cars that are the color that your child says. Who sees the car first? Now pick another color!
Activities if you live near Agriculture/Farmland:
- Counting fun wherever you are. Have your child pick what they want to count tonight (wildflowers, sticks, rocks). Can your child find 20? 30? 40? How many can you find when you help your child! Remember, when you are done, leave the items where you found them.
- Follow the leader, wherever you roam. What animals live in the area that you are at? Horses, Pigs, Dogs, Cats, Ducks? Walk around and see if you can find some animal prints. Can you guess what animal made that footprint in the dirt? Is there a track that you can follow to reach the animal?
Activities if you live in a Suburban Neighborhood:
- Ready, Set, Go! Have your child lead the way today. As soon as you walk out the door, hold your child’s hand and ask them to take charge and tell you where to go. Practice Directions (Left, Right, Forward, Backwards), stop and go! Each time you turn, ask you child which direction you are going.
- Sidewalks are great fun in suburban neighborhoods. There are plenty of them and they provide opportunities for jumping. Go for an evening walk and encourage your child to stop and jump over every line they see on the sidewalk. Have them count the lines while they jump.
What is your favorite activity to do with your family? Please leave ideas in the comments below!