Unplug & Play – Encourage the Kids Outdoors!

Getting kids to play outdoors in your backyard can be a challenge but also a fun and rewarding experience. Here are some ideas to help you encourage kids to spend more time outside:

  1. Create an Inviting Space: Make your backyard a welcoming and safe environment. Clear any hazards, provide comfortable seating, and add some outdoor play equipment like swings, slides, or a sandpit or pool.
  2. Engage in Outdoor Activities: Plan various outdoor activities that are both enjoyable and educational. Consider activities like scavenger hunts, nature exploration, gardening, bird watching, or outdoor crafts.
  3. Organize Playdates: Invite your children’s friends or neighborhood kids over for playdates in the backyard. Children often feel more motivated to play outdoors when they have friends to share the experience with.
  4. Set a Good Example: Children are more likely to engage in outdoor activities if they see adults doing the same. Spend time outdoors yourself, whether it’s gardening, reading, listening to music or exercising.
  5. Limit Screen Time: Set specific rules for screen time. Encourage kids to earn screen time by spending a certain amount of time playing outside.
  6. Provide Outdoor Toys: Have a variety of outdoor toys available, such as balls, frisbees, hula hoops, skipping ropes, bikes or scooters and board games. These can entice kids to come outside and have fun.
  7. Create a Play Zone: Designate a specific area in the backyard as a play zone. This could include a basketball hoop, a mini soccer field, or even an area for building forts or teepee tent.
  8. Organize Outdoor Games: Plan games like tag, hide and seek, relay races, obstacle course or capture the flag. These games are not only fun but also promote physical activity and social interaction.
  9. Outdoor Art and Creativity: Provide materials for outdoor art and craft projects, like sidewalk chalk, watercolor paints, or clay. Children can enjoy expressing themselves while being outside.
  10. Outdoor Cooking: Set up a simple outdoor cooking area, such as a barbecue or a fire pit, and involve kids in making simple snacks like marshmallows or hot dogs.
  11. Seasonal Activities: Embrace the changing seasons by planning activities that are specific to each season, like building snowmen in winter, jumping in leaf piles in autumn, or having a water balloon fight in summer.
  12. Pets and Animals: If you have pets, encourage kids to spend time outside while interacting with them. You could also set up bird feeders or butterfly gardens to attract wildlife.
  13. Family Outdoor Time: Dedicate specific times for the whole family to spend together in the backyard. Whether it’s a weekend picnic or a family game night, these shared experiences can create lasting memories.

Remember, the goal is to make the backyard a place where kids want to be and where they can engage in a variety of activities that capture their interest and imagination.