If you feel like your kids are spending too much time indoors glued to a screen, you are not alone. Many parents worry that their children are wasting too much time on their cell phones and tablets or playing video games. One of the best ways to help break the addiction is to limit screen time and get the family outside.
Outdoor play offers several benefits for kids of all ages. It helps ensure that they are getting plenty of physical exercise, and it provides an opportunity for them to use all their muscles. Youngsters get a chance to explore and experience the world around them, and older kids are able to break free from the stress of school, peer pressure, etc. Getting the entire family together to enjoy time in the great outdoors can be a great bonding experience and serves as an opportunity for creating memories that will last a lifetime.
While some days are much better for outside play than others, there are plenty of things to do outside year-round–many of which are free or close to it. Here are a few of our favorite fun ways to get outside with your family.
Tie-Dye T-Shirts in the Backyard
Tie-dyeing t-shirts is a fun project for the entire family. And since it can get pretty messy, it’s a great one to tackle outside. To get started, you will need blank t-shirts for kids and adults and a tie-dye kit. You may also need some rubber bands and gloves (if they are not included in your kit).
Start by pre-washing your shirts. There is no need to dry them since you want them to be damp when you dye them. Wring out any excess water and then fold and twist each shirt as desired. You can create various designs using different folding/twisting techniques. Once your shirt is arranged how you want, secure with rubber bands.
Next, apply the dye. Squirt it directly onto the fabric, making sure to use enough to fully saturate it. When you’ve finished with one side, flip the shirt over to apply color to the other side. Wear gloves while doing this to avoid staining your skin. When you are done, let your shirts sit for up to 24 hours. The longer they sit, the more vibrant the final color will be.
After several hours, carefully remove the rubber bands and rinse each shirt thoroughly in cold water. Rinse until the water runs clear and then throw your shirts in the washing machine. Wash as usual to remove excess dye. Dry however you normally dry t-shirts and you’re good to go! This project is a favorite among both young kids and teens and they will be excited to start showing off their new custom creations.
Go Sled Riding
You may mostly think of summertime activities when you think about spending time outside, but there is no reason for the winter to be spent trapped indoors. Bundling the family up for an afternoon of sled riding is a great way to get outside and enjoy the wonders of winter.
Find a hill that is well-suited to sledding. It could be in a local park or even in your own backyard. Many ski resorts also have hills that are dedicated solely to sledding or tubing. When you are looking for a good sledding hill, look for one that is not too steep and does not have dangerous obstructions like trees, bushes or rocks. You should also choose a hill that doesn’t have a parking lot or a road at the bottom.
Have an Outdoor Movie Night
An outdoor movie night is a perfect way to enjoy a warm summer evening. With a large white sheet, a projector, a few clothespins, a clothesline and some tasty treats, you can bring the thrill of the drive-in movie theater to your own backyard.
Drape your sheet over the clothesline and pin it in place. If it’s windy, use a few rocks to secure the bottom of the sheet to the ground. Hook up your projector and aim it at the screen. Your laptop speakers will work, but for better sound quality, use a set of external speakers.
Pop some popcorn, serve up some drinks and you’re ready to go. Bring some of your favorite blankets and pillows outside to keep everyone comfy. Enjoy the show!
Go on a Nature Walk
A nature walk is a great activity at any time of year. During the fall, you and your kids can gather and identify beautiful leaves from different types of trees. In the spring, look for new flowers that are just starting to pop up. If you are in an area where there is snow on the ground during the winter, look for tracks and try to identify what type of animal created them. In the summer, keep an eye out for birds and various types of insects.
There is always something interesting to see when you go for a walk in nature, and it is a great way to escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life and enjoy some peace and quiet. Plus, going for a walk will help your kiddos burn off some of their excess energy. If you aren’t sure what to do or where to go, the National Park Service has some great ideas on ways to explore nature.
Spending time outdoors provides numerous benefits for everyone in the family. No matter what your interests may be, there are plenty of enjoyable things that you can do outside in your own backyard or community.
Finally, if you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out Olivia Parker’s other amazing contributions to this site, including:
- Essential Parent Hacks: Back to School Prep for Large Families
- How to Make Your Athletic Wear Last Longer
- The Benefits of Beading with Your Child
Written by Olivia Parker
Olivia Parker is a full-time, stay-at-home mother of 2 daughters and a son, plus their beagle named Duke! She loves blogging, yoga, and spending time with her family. She is also a crafting extraordinaire and frequent contributor to The Bead Traders Blog. Check out another great guest post by Olivia here!