Disclaimer: No payment was received for writing this post. I received a few small samples of Go Organically Fruit Snacks.
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports month and to inspire kids to get outside and be active this spring Go Organically have come up with 4 things to try. I don’t often share content from brands but I liked the ideas in this one and they align very closely to the ways I encourage my family to go outside.
My kids favourite outdoor activity is climbing trees. It’s the first thing they do when they get home from school and I love that it attracts them more than any other activity.It is important to me that my kids get independent playtime outside, but sometimes kids won’t go outside without a little push from an adult. Here are some simple ideas from Go Organically fruit snacks if your kids need a little encouragement.
1. Gear Up
Make sports equipment easily accessible so you’ll be more likely to use it. Park bicycles near the front of your garage, or keep scooters in the mudroom to inspire impromptu usage. Stash a Frisbee or soccer ball in your car for pick-up games, or “catch up” on the day while playing a quick game of catch in the evenings. The idea is to integrate activity into your everyday life so it becomes a part of your routine.
I love the advice about integrating it into everyday life. We use scooters to go to school everyday, often stop at the pond near school to explore the changing seasons and have skipping ropes near the door so they are easy to grab.
2. Play Nature Bingo
Which family member has an eagle eye for spotting things like squirrels, ant hills or pine cones? To find out, head to your local park—or simply your own backyard—and play an active yet educational game of Nature Bingo. Print out a free online template (we like these for their earthy feel) and try to find as many items as you can, marking off each square as you go.
Nature bingo is always fun. When my girls were younger and struggled to walk back from the park, I would pretend we were pirates and give them a list of “treasures” they had to find or collect .You can also try some of these woodland activities we enjoyed. They would work equally well in a garden or park.
3. Embrace Old School Games
When we were kids, it was all about classic backyard games like Freeze Tag, Simon Says and Hide-and-Seek. Our favorite? Red Light/Green Light. One child acts as the “stoplight” and stands with his or her back to the crowd across the yard from the other kids. When the stoplight shouts “green light,” the kids move forward and try to be the first to touch the stoplight. At any point, the stoplight may shout “red light!” and turn around. If any of the players are caught moving, they’re out.
Regular readers will know, I think it is really important to teach my kids games from my childhood and other simple games. It will not only preserve these games and rhymes for future generations but it is also an opportunity to play together outside. I recently taught them how to play elastics (French skipping) and we had great fun.
Try out some of my families favourites here.
4. Take a Walk
It sounds so simple, but sometimes it’s nice to get back to basics with regular family walks. Take the dog out together in the morning instead of making it a one-man job. Or work off dinner by hitting the pavement as a family for a sunset stroll. It’s a great way to discover your surroundings, get to know your neighbors, and enjoy quality time as a family while burning off energy. When my youngest was small she hated to walk but loved to see things in our neighbourhood. I bought her a scooter and she used that and never complained.
Before my youngest started school, she would ask me everyday if we could go for a walk. We wouldn’t go far, a quick circuit around the neighbourhood was often enough for her, but she loved to discover things you can only find on foot. We identified flowers and plants, rescued worms and snails, found caterpillars, ducklings, birds, frogs and salamanders, caught blossom, collected leaves and carried sheets of ice. My daughter didn’t like to walk far when she was younger but once I bought her a scooter we could go on long walks together.
What are your favourite ways of getting outside?
If you like these ideas, and you would like to explore more, below are some of my many outdoor play posts.
Children connecting with Nature (discussing the findings of a 3 year study into how connected to nature the UK’s children are)
To find more resources, click on the outdoor play tab above.