10 Activities to Get the Kids Outdoors
Spring is here and the days and nights are getting longer. Tear your children away from their screens with these 10 activities to get the kids outdoors.
If your children’s sole connection to nature is an addiction to playing Angry Birds you know you have a problem!
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You may not be alone. The National Trust’s recent Natural Childhood report found that on average Britain’s children watch more than 17 hours of television a week and spend more than 20 hours a week online. Once they hit 11, children in the UK can spend around half their waking lives in front of a screen. The result, according to The National Trust, is that “…our children are exhibiting the symptoms of a modern phenomenon known as Nature Deficit Disorder".
Tearing your kids away from the screen can seem like a tough challenge but it doesn’t have to be that way. With the summer season approaching, there’s no better time to get started!
Here are 10 activities to get the kids outdoors:
1. Start gardening
By planting a garden, a child can experience the satisfaction that comes with caring for something over time, while observing the cycle of life first hand. Gardening can also bring environmental awareness to kids at an earlier age.
2. Garden matching game
Go outside with your kids and have them close their eyes, as you fill a paper bag with items from the garden. Gather pine cones, leaves, rocks, pebbles, flowers, etc. Have your children reach in the bag, pull out an object and hunt for a similar one in your yard. Continue until each item from the bag has a match.
3. Plan a garden scavenger hunt
Make your own scavenger hunt handout or use the BBC’s guide. See how many things you and your children can find.
4. Create a nature notebook
A nature notebook can help your kids keep track of their observations. Spend thirty minutes a day finding interesting things to put in their notebook. They can draw pictures of what they see or take notes.
5. Run a bug hunt
Turn over a rock or look under a flower pot for some creepy crawlers. Using a bug container will allow your kids to look closely at different worms and insects without getting too grossed out -- just make sure to put the bugs back where you found them.
6. Discover a rotten log
That dead tree or stump can be a great science lesson. Kids can investigate and note everything they see: what's on the surface, moss, holes bored into the log, bugs and more. Ask your child questions about what bugs they saw and what they think they were doing there -- like finding shelter or gathering food.
7. Put up a bird feeder
Get a bird feeder or make one yourself using a pine cone and peanut butter, and put it outside near a window. Kids can look out the window whenever they please and it's an easy and simple way to keep kids connected with nature.
8. Go on a nature walk
Whether you live in a city, a suburb or a rural area, a nature walk is a simple way to get your kids outside. Even just walking around your block, kids can observe trees, bugs and birds they see along the way. To make a walk with your kids a little more interesting, let a penny lead the way! When you come to a road, turn or intersection, flip a penny. If it lands on heads, go right and if it lands on tails, turn left.
9. Day trips
Whether it's a trip to a park, museum or field, going on a day trip is a fun way for you and your kids to get out of the house and learn more about nature.
Technology is not commonly associated with getting outside however, but geocaching is an easy way to combine the two. It's a high-tech treasure hunt, where users search for treasures or "caches" using a GPS device to pinpoint the correct location.
Read Next: 5 Health Benefits of Kids Playing Outside
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