Many parents of today agree that their children spend way too much time indoors or on electronic devices. The problems of recent decades, where kids spent more time watching television or playing on their video game systems has snowballed with the internet, smart phones, and portable, hand-held devices. Studies indicate that children spend a startlingly high percentage of their free time on their electronic devices, texting, using social networking sites, watching videos, and playing videos games for hours at a time. As children are being introduced to these forms of entertainment at younger ages, the desire to play outdoors has diminished considerably. Most kids of today feel quite at home in the modern sedentary lifestyle. This fact is disconcerting for parents who are concerned for their children’s overall development and health.
One great way to encourage your children to spend more time outdoors is to provide them with activities that are both enjoyable and easy to get to. Kid friendly backyard activities are one of the best methods as a child can switch off their electronic device and simply walk through the backyard door to begin. If the activity is enjoyable always available, the thought is that they will feel compelled to take part in it, with it “calling to them” as they sit inside playing video games on a beautiful sunny day.
There are two key factors to keep in mind when deciding on kid friendly backyard ideas: enjoyment and safety. There are many classic backyard activities that may no longer be relevant to the modern child, so it’s important to think outside the box and put together something that will be exciting and interesting for your child. In fact, the more you can tailor make the activity to your own child’s interests, the more likely you will have success in getting your child outdoors on a daily basis.
Here are a variety of ideas that have been implemented with success in recent years.
1. Outdoor Music Station – For the creative child, putting together an outdoor music station can be a lot of fun. The options are endless here. One effective idea is to affix different “musical instruments” to a stationary fence or wall. This can include the keys of a xylophone, pots and pans for percussion, and mallets attached by string to the wall near the instruments. The sky is the limit here with the only important restriction being that the instruments should be water and weather proof.
2. Life Size Reproduction of Popular Video Game – Here’s an idea that will surely be relevant and enjoyable for your child. As the popular games found on smart phones and hand-held devices tend to operate on extremely simple principles, it may be possible to make a real-life and life size version of your child’s favorite application or game. A little bit of ingenuity may be required, as it’s important that the most “addictive” aspects of the game are not lost in translation. Search for a game that will translate well before beginning construction of its life size counterpart.
3. Outdoor Classroom – A fun idea for young children is to assemble a variety of learning tools, faux appliances, or other fun and interesting things for your children to play with using their imagination. The idea of the outdoor classroom is that the child can learn about something they are interested in in an outdoor and enjoyable environment. For example, a child can learn how to garden in their own gardening box. Another great idea is to have a weather proof art easel or chalkboard to sketch with as part of the “classroom.”
4. Outdoor Board Games – One popular method of getting the kids to spend more time outdoors is to give them an alternative way to play an enjoyable game with their friends or siblings. Games like Tic Tac Toe, Twister, and Checkers can all be created in an outdoor environment. Using paint on the grass, tiles, wood, or other materials, an oversized game board can be created on the lawn. As the game mechanics are already proven to be fun for children, taking it outside in a novel way will ensure your child’s interest and enjoyment.