Category: Getting Kids Active

Getting Kids Outside and Active

Do you remember playing outside until mom called you in for dinner? If parents don’t take action, today’s kids probably won’t. In the last 20 years childhood has moved indoors. The average American boy or girl spends as few as 30 minutes in outdoor play each day and more than seven hours each day in front of an electronic screen.   Some of my fondest memories were playing outside! What about you? Not to mention all the great health benefits we got. Outdoor play and exercise has been known to lower childhood obesity, diabetes, and cancer. We also know that kids (and adults) are experiencing Vitamin D deficiency at epidemic proportions (linked to bone problems, diabetes, heart disease, and more). Guess where you are supposed to get Vit. D? …Sunshine!   We have a a ranch on 5 acres, the weather is gorgeous, and even with ALL that.. if I’m not encouraging these kids to get outside and PLAY there is a lot of reasons they would stay inside and NOT play outdoors Starting with…. kindles, movies, minecraft, American dolls, littlest petshop, calico critters, legos, cars, drawing, etc etc etc (you know what I’m talking about, right parents?!)   And none of those things are bad to me. Some in moderation more than others. But the goal is to get them to make “outside play” second nature. Not reaching for a “device”.   And this takes more than a little urging from me. Actually total direction. They are only allowed to play their kindles (as video games, aka minecraft, etc) on Saturdays for 4 hours. We purposely don’t have cable but do have netflix and amazon prime TV– all movies are at my discretion and very infrequent (on purpose). And then I have to just simply straight up tell them each day, “ok, time to go inside!” And if they try and come back in, I let them know they can help me with the cleaning! 🙂 🙂 🙂   I found one day I actually had to teach them how to pretend! They do play pretend lots, but how to have an imaginary adventure outside that last several hours took some prompting. So I said, “Here take this big long stick, and pretend it is a horse, and name it. Have fun, run around, and have an adventure!”   I used to LOVE being outside growing up. We would play for hours. It is just not second nature to our kids anymore. They aren’t learning it from other kids either. We are going to have to teach them (and make them!)   So this Christmas we put our money in making outdoor play that much more awesome. And it was several (many!) days of outdoor family projects putting it all together that created life long memories and taught the kids great lessons. We: –Built a tree fort (using all scrap wood. Purchasing stain and screws probably cost $50) –Installed a tree swing ($13!) –Bought a SWEET 15′ trampoline that…