Are you having trouble coming up with ways to get your kids off the couch and into the outdoors, away from the lure of the television and the games they obsessively play on their iPhones? Many Americans are battling problems with obesity, and these struggles extend to children as well, who, more and more, are not getting the exercise they need to promote growth and fitness.
If you’re looking for ways to increase the amount of time your children spend outdoors, your backyard is a fantastic place to start encouraging them to play outside. But first you may need to make sure that it’s a safe, friendly environment for your little darlings. Here are a few suggestions how:
Family garden. Consider this option one that will make certain that your kids are soaking up sunshine and getting plenty of fresh air and, as a bonus, producing homegrown food you can serve for dinner. Planting a family garden gives your children the chance to practice becoming responsible adults by showing them how to take care of living things and also offers them the satisfaction of literally enjoying the fruits of their labors. You can also shop together for decorations to put in the garden – allow your children to personalize it and make it their own.
Clean up! If no one in your family has ever spent any real time in the backyard, it may need some intense TLC, which, if performed under your direction, could offer some fantastic family bonding time. The grass may need to be mowed, rocks may need to be cleared away, and any garbage, unused or broken furniture, or any other detritus can be cleared away. They may not like it, but, once again, by giving your kids the opportunity to turn the backyard into a place they’d enjoy to play in through their own hard work, you’ll be teaching them a valuable lesson about responsibility. After the yard is cleaned up, you can treat your kids by purchasing brand new playground equipment for them to play on.
Wildlife sighting. Since kids are usually fascinated by birds and insects, you can create a mini-wildlife refuge by planting flowers or installing a feeder to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, which are rarer than most birds your children will encounter, and both creatures are beautiful and fun to watch.
Build your own sandbox. Often thought of as a rare treat available only in the park, you can construct a sandbox for your children by making a box out of wooden planks or using an old tractor tire and filling it with sand. (Make sure to provide some kind of cover, as passing cats will often want to use it as a bathroom.)
Arts and crafts. Purchase collapsible easels for your kids along with paints, crayons, markers, and a giant pad of paper, then encourage them to go to town! They can paint whatever they encounter in the backyard, and if you’ve installed the bird feeder, they may practice honing their artistic skills by reproducing the hummingbirds it attracts!