Technology today is amazing, but sadly, all the gadgets, gizmos, and internet is what’s keeping kids from spending time outside, getting dirty, and playing in the real world. Studies have actually shown that kids today spend only half as much time playing outside as we (the parents) did when we were younger – now isn’t that just a little sad?
Think about some of your best memories. I’m sure a lot, if not most of them had to do with being outside, getting dirty and simply enjoying the outdoors with your friends or even your family.
It’s time to put the gadgets away and bring back the smiles with some of these outdoor activities you can do with the kids. They’re not that hard to do but will guarantee a ton of enjoyment and happiness – not just for them, but for you as well.
1. FLY A KITE
Kite flying is something I feel like is being blown away by the wind. I used to fly a kite when I was little and it was one of the things my friends and I enjoyed doing. At some point, we even tried kite fighting. Never heard of it? Watch The Kite Runner. For added fun-points, you and your kids can even make the kite together. All you need is some sticks, plastic, and string to make your own DIY version.
2. CAMPING AND HIKING
This is an oldie but goodie. I strongly believe that every kid should have a camping and hiking experience at least once in his or her life. Spending time with nature allows them to experience the world in ways that an iPad or computer won’t give them. It also gives them an understanding of nature and all the living things.
If you want to teach your kids how to appreciate life, nature, and how to take care of it, take them camping. Throw in a little hike to get your blood pumping and for them to release some of their boundless child energy.
If you’re new parents, you can even go camping with your baby. It’s a great experience for you to try.
Got a kid who’s fascinated with all things creepy and all things crawly? Take them on a bug hunt. Bring a magnifying glass with you and some boxes or jars to keep them in (temporarily). Do some research with him at home or at the library (you know, if your town still has one of those) about all the bugs you found together. Once you’re done, don’t forget to release them back into nature!
4. NIGHT TIME BACKYARD FUN
You don’t even have to go far to enjoy some time with your kids, even your backyard can be a host to many fun adventures. You can start off with some afternoon grilling. Make hot dogs, burgers, or skewers with them. Having them help you prepare and grill is a great way to get them started in learning how to cook.
Then when the sun sets, you can go backyard camping. Set up a tent and build a campfire with something like a propane fire pit. They’re really great and easy to use and you can find tons that are meant for your backyard. Roast some marshmallows over your fire pit and make some s’mores – 100% satisfaction guaranteed!
5. LANDSCAPE PAINTING
Painting is another great activity you can do with your kids, especially if they’re the artsy type – or, you know; enjoy making a mess with paint. Head out and buy a canvas and some water-based toxic free paint and let them go crazy.
Depending on their type of expression, they can use a brush or their hands. You can even get creative and use things like leaves to make stamps. If your kids are a bit older, you can actually try to paint a nice landscape with them to develop their painting skills.
6. WATER BALLOON FIGHT
This one is highly recommended for those unbearably hot summer months. Grab some water balloons from your nearby stores and maybe even some water guns. Fill them up and go crazy! You can do this in your backyard or invite other families from your neighborhood and turn it into a neighborhood water balloon fight! Just remind your kids not to go running off on the roads!
7. CAR WASH FIESTA
Washing your car may be an annoying errand for you, but trust me, for your kids, it’s a chance to get soapy and wet. Grab your buckets or garden hose and have your kids change into something they can get wet in. This, my fellow parents, is what you call killing two birds with one stone.
8. PLAY CATCH
Never underestimate the bonding you get while playing catch. My husband would play catch with our sons at least once a week. They didn’t grow up to be baseball players but they built a relationship where my sons knew they can talk to their father about anything and everything during their afternoon ball sessions. Even now that they’re in college and come to visit, they still play catch with their dad.
9. SET UP A TIRE SWING OR A HAMMOCK
Got a tree in your backyard? That’s the best place to set up a tire swing or hammock. If you can get lots of rope, you can even hang a bunch of ropes from the tree and make some “vines” for your kids to release their inner monkey.
Disclaimer: expect your kids to spend most of their time there and some difficulty getting them back inside for dinner.
10. SWIMMING LESSONS
When your kids are at that age to learn how to swim, bring them over to your nearby pool (or your backyard if you have one) and teach them how to swim! Add in some floaties and toys that they can play with as well.
If your kids already know how to swim, then just go out swimming with them! This is perfect during the summer and will guarantee a lot of smiles.
11. BUILD AN OUTDOOR FORT
If it’s nice and sunny out (with no chances of rain), you can build an outdoor fort (check out 25 best ideas for outdoor fort) with your kids. You can make it as simple or as complex as their imagination wants. Use some old large boxes if you have any to build a castle – you can even have them paint it.
Take out tables and chairs (if you don’t mind them getting a bit dirty) and some blankets to build tunnels or a lean-to. You can even pitch your tent if you want and add it to your fort. You can tie strings around and hang blankets to make a maze even.
Really, this is as much for you as for your kids. After all the stresses of the week, wouldn’t you want to release your inner kid and rebuild the forts you used to create when you were younger? Remember, for this one, the sky’s the limit – or maybe at least the things you have at home is the limit.
12. GET OUTSIDE!
There is so much you can do with your kids. All you have to do is think back a few years when you were kids (let’s not mention how many, though), and think about all the things you loved to do.
If you’re worried about their safety, just watch them and guide them. I’m sure you’ve done some pretty mischievous things but you came out alive and kicking, right? So it’s time to let your kids (and yourself) have the same adventures you used to!