Spring is officially here and it’s time to get out from behind a screen and get outdoors. The great thing about many outside activities is that they don’t require a lot of fancy equipment or gear. Think scaled back and old school. Remember when you were a kid and you’d relish in the extra daylight of late spring evenings, playing everything from hide and go seek to tag?
I recently spoke with Middle Tennessee based Holistic Health Coach and Homeschool Mom Calie Shackleford to get her ideas for encouraging kids to have more spring time fun and less screen time.
Seven Ideas for Outdoor Fun
- Introduce old school games like kick the can, freeze tag, and four square. We have to get creative since we homeschool and have lots of extra time to play outside. Old school games always grab their attention since they seem new and exciting.
- Be social with your neighbors. Leading by example to help your kids make friends close by who they are excited to see. Kids are much more likely to stay outside and play if they have friends to play with and creativity and game options increase as the kids increase. If you don’t have a lot of kids on your street be intentional about inviting kids over from school or teams.
- Stock a bin in your garage with a few basic but inexpensive outside toys. Jump rope, sidewalk chalk, playground balls, orange cones, and even old pots and pans.
- Help them brainstorm outdoor games based on their favorite screen time activities. My kids love the show Dual Survival and have created an entire game in the backyard based on their favorite episodes.
- Give them a fun outdoor responsibility. Do they have a favorite vegetable or flower they can grow in an outdoor container? Potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries or even romaine. You don’t have to have a huge garden for them to enjoy some outside time in the dirt. Just one pot will do. Maybe plant a small wildflower garden and make them responsible for picking flowers for dinner.
- If they are highly motivated by screen time attach it to outdoor time. A good rule of thumb to start out with is a 3 to 1 ratio outside to screen time. So for every 90 minutes they spend outside they earn 30 minutes of screen time.
- Give them a pair of durable gloves and a trash bag and let them do some community service to earn screen time picking up trash on your street, pulling weeds or cleaning up leaves and sticks. They will be learning good citizenship skills while soaking up some vitamin D and getting a little exercise.
Do you have any ideas to share with us? Let us know in the comments below!
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Jamie Reeves is a Nashville-based writer, editor, and lover of all things social media. She and her husband Alan have two daughters, two dogs, and too much laundry. This busy soccer mom can typically be found cheering from the sidelines or in her car on the way to school or sports practices. She loves traveling with her family and exploring fun things to do in Middle Tennessee. Jamie has been pontificating about poop and pinot noir at Blonde Mom Blog, since 2005.