I’m sharing my favorite list of the best outdoor activities for kids, but first…
Did you read this article about how little time outside the average kid gets? Pretty sad right? If you haven’t read it – read it now. Seriously, just click the link. I’ll be here when you get back.
Read it? Good!
We need to get our kids outside more and consequently get them using their imaginations. I know it’s easy to hand them the iPad and to give in when they beg to play just five more minutes of Xbox but at what cost? But, we need to get them outside, and we need to get them playing.
Here are my 21 MUST DO and best outdoor activities for kids:
- Play in the grass.
- Play in puddles.
- Play with a ball.
- Play in the dirt.
- Play at the playground.
- Play with a friend.
- Play in the woods.
- Play in the garden.
- Play in the rocks.
- Play in a tree.
- Play in the mud.
- Play with a pet.
- Play in the snow.
- Play at the beach.
- Play with bugs.
- Play in the forest.
- Play with a stick.
- Play with a hose.
- Play loudly.
- Play alone.
- Play at the park.
Do you see where I am going with this?
Please, parents, we need to give our kids more time to play outside. I know I have thousands of posts with playful learning activities, but they are not meant to take the place of play. Our big kids need unstructured time too; being in elementary school may be intense, make time for play. No agendas, no tutorials to follow, just play outside.
The only directions to follow in this post are for parents. Here are the steps we all need to follow:
- Make time for your kids to play.
- Limit screen time. Yes, the fight over turning off that Xbox is worth it. However, I won’t give in if you don’t!
- Limit after-school activities so that your kids have time to play every day.
- Get them outside.
They might fuss about being bored, ignore it. Because, they will find a way to play; they are kids, it’s how they are wired, honestly.
I promise I will do my best to follow these steps too. We can do this!
With nicer weather soon to come down on us, make sure you follow me on Facebook for other outdoor activities to do this year.
I think the secret to keeping kids engaged outdoors is loose parts. We had a pile of debris in our yard for about 3 months during a construction project and our kids spent hours playing with it every day. Once we cleaned it up they were no longer interested in playing outside. We’ve started an intentional loose parts pile and our yard is a mess but our children beg to go outside.
Do you not consider after school activities plating outside? Whether my kids are playing soccer at school or at home, that is their choice of activities.
I think after school activities get a bad rap. The entire reason these evolved were because every parent can’t take the time off to watch their kids play outside AND not every neighborhood is safe for kids to play alone. I think after school sports are a fantastic way for kids to get outdoor playtime if those are obstacles.
Let’s be honest- most people are struggling to just do the bare minimum in life. Everyone has some added responsibility- whether it’s caring for aging relatives or being a single parent, or simply renovating their older home. Having kids in activities that they love with trustworthy adults is NOT something that should be trashed the way so many people do these days (I am not saying you are here, I am just saying that is the sentiment I have come across a lot lately.) We should be teaching our kids to live as part of a community, not teaching them that mom is the sole person responsible for managing every moment of their day.
Allison McDonald says
I do think it’s worthy, I am calling for a balance. Sports are wonderful for kids but in many areas, kids are in 1-2 activities every day after school and it’s not always because the families need childcare.It is because parents think kids need to always stay busy. They don’t, they need PLAY time which is unstructured as well as these other activities. My post was trying to get across that we don’t need to structure our kids day 100%, they need time to just play in the mud, just climb a tree, just run outside.