These days, an increasing number of children spend most of their time indoors wired to technology. A lack of physical activity predisposes them to obesity-related health problems. Apart from being overweight, children develop weaker muscles and bones if they don’t exercise regularly, while chances of getting type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure increase as they grow older too.
Benefits of Outdoor Activities for Children
We know that modern gadgets don’t effectively replace social interactions. Children who stay indoors most of the time are less likely to develop relationships with other children. They have fewer opportunities of coming in contact with other kids and learning to interact with them.
Outdoor spaces encourage children to come out of their shells and engage in activities that will get them ready to make new friends and improve their social skills. They also become less dependent on adults and enhance their ability to play by themselves. They get more confident and develop the spirit of sportsmanship early in life. Win or lose, they will be able to engage in the game of sports and pick themselves up if they fail.
Outdoor activities also help resolve mental health issues in children. An important causative factor of mental health issues is isolation. When parents give their children the freedom to play outside, they develop a positive mental attitude and their moods are enhanced.
6 ways to really engage the kids in outdoor play this Summer
1. One of the most productive ways of engaging your children outdoor in summer is to invest in the right outdoor space like a children's playhouse. It gives parents the opportunity to inspire outdoor activities in their children, away from the scorching summer weather. The kids can invite their friends over to the playhouse where they will be able to adapt to various behaviours such as sharing toys and engaging in other physical activities such as climbing and acting out their favourite cartoon scenarios.
2 An irresistible summer day outdoor activity for kids is the water balloon fight. Dads especially can have great fun with their kids by organising a water balloon fight. You can create water balloons from purpose-made water balloons available in most toy shops or simply using regular balloons if purpose-made ones are not available. Attach the neck of the water balloon to a funnel and fill it up from the tap. All you then need to do is to split into two teams, and give each team an equal number of balloons. Whichever team gets their opponents most wet after all the water balloons have been thrown wins the game.
3 Another interesting outdoor water game on a hot summer day is the sponge ball water tag. It is a simple DIY activity involving the use of coloured sponges. Cut the sponges into thin strips and wrap a rubber band around two strips at the centre to make a sponge ball. Make as many sponge balls as you wish but make sure you use different colours of sponge for each team. Place the sets of sponge balls in buckets and fill them with water. Line up each team on opposite sides of the playground. Anyone that gets hit with a sponge ball is out of the game.
4. Riding a bike is simple yet effective. The advantage of this activity is that your child can acquire the skill for life once it is mastered. All that is required is a training bike and a suitable road that is not busy for practise. Practically every dad will enjoy seeing their child cycling on their own to visit friends and family and heading to any other destination on their own once they’ve acquired the skills.
5 You can also have a great deal of fun outdoor with the kids by turning your garden into a Welly wanging arena. Welly wanging is a sport in which competitors are expected to throw a Welly boot as far as they can. All you need to do is for the kids to take turns throwing a Welly boot as far as they can in the garden. A marker with a kid’s name is placed where the Welly boot landed when the kid threw the Welly boot. The kid who has thrown the Welly boot the furthest after everyone has had their turn is the winner.
6 What about a scavenger hunt. They will enjoy running around finding the items on the scavenger list. A list of plants, animals and bugs that can easily be found in the garden is put together and the list handed to them with a bag or a box to keep the items as they find them. It will encourage the kids to work together as a team and if some form of motivation such as a prize is attached to the activity, the excitement levels increase significantly.
About the Author
Han-Son runs DaddiLife - a parenting website for dads which covers a range of areas from things to do, health, reviews and much more.
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.