5 Outdoor Activities To Keep Your Kids Happy And Healthy
It is a bitter truth that our children are not getting the required amount of physical activity.
They spend less time outdoors and more time on screens. This is because parents are not comfortable sending their kids out due to unfavourable conditions. Archives of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine reports that almost 50% kids in America do not get enough playtime outdoors.
Kids are certainly safer inside the house but the sedentary lifestyle has its own drawbacks. Research confirms that children who play outside are happier and healthier. Moreover, playing in a natural environment promotes cognitive and concentration skills.
It is important for parents to take their kids outside for play or some physical activity. Spending quality time outside will improve their physical and mental health. Following are five outdoor activities that you can do with your kids. This way, they will get the health benefits and you can also be there to look after.
1. Swimming and other water fun
Swimming is a refreshing, healthy and fun way to spend time with your kids as well as burn some calories. It incorporates physical activity as well as boosts motor movements and sensory development. A study by Swim England proves that swimming helps children develop physical, cognitive and social skills quicker. Moreover, children of all ages can enjoy the pool with the right equipment and proper supervision! The first thing you should do is teach your kids how to swim. If you do not know as well then maybe you can all learn together under an experienced coach.
Once all the family members know how to swim; you can do racing, diving and even underwater headstands! When that gets boring, you can incorporate different types of water games that are both fun and offer a healthy competition to your family.
Gardening is quite an under rated hobby and activity. It is often considered something for the elders; however children can also take an active part in it if you try. Gardening is as raw as it can get. Putting your hands in the soil, sowing seeds, watering the plants are all activities that can teach your children patience, responsibility, care and nurturing skills which are very important in the real world. A research conducted on 3rd and 5th graders involving 1 year of gardening, proved significant increase in the child’s self-understanding and ability to do teamwork. Having a big space to do gardening is definitely not required. Even small pots or yogurt boxes can do and you can start with easy and small plants or vegetables.
Gardening is a holistic activity and very engaging for kids. Moreover, it is great if you get to eat the vegetables and fruits off your own garden – completely organic and grown with love! However, there are some dangerous and toxic plants that one should be mindful of when involving children in the gardening process.
3. Long walks, jogging, or bike rides
One of the best gifts you can give to your kids is to get them into a habit of running because it has many benefits.
Walking or bicycle riding are other great ways to spend some quality time and also get fit in the process. A walk or ride in a quiet neighbourhood, in some park, or to get a few groceries from nearby market are a great ways to be more active.
A moment almost every parent remembers is when their children grow out of training wheels and can balance on just two wheels of the bike. Teaching them how to ride a bike without training wheels is another great outdoor activity and a great confidence boost for them as seen in a research by Waterford University.
4. Roller skating
Roller skating is another fun and great physical activity that you can do with your family.
Roller skating is equal in caloric consumption to jogging and it can strengthen and develop your leg muscles. Moreover, it is less impactful on the joints than jogging. The simplest way that you can spend time with your children outdoors on roller skates is to teach them how to skate.
A child above the age of 4 has enough strength in his/her muscles and joints to be able to safely learn skating. Falling down is part of the fun but just be sure that you and your family wear the right gear for skating including helmets and knee pads. Roller skating can also be replaced by ice skating in colder countries.
Going to the park is a great activity for kids and families as there is just so much to do there.
Studies suggest that children living within 2/3rd miles of a park are five times less likely to be overweight. Almost all parks have swings, slides, or play areas. While the younger kids love to play and run around, the older ones can sit and watch. They can also take part in a sport like football, cricket, or badminton.
You can also consider picnics or BBQs depending on the rules or nature of the park. The cherry on top is that parks are usually free or at a very small charge so going there is an economical outing for the entire family.
The hours our children mindlessly spend watching videos on their phones and iPads cannot hold a candle in front of the memorable time that they can spend with their family, under the sun. After some years, it is not the nursery rhymes on the iPad that they will remember but the memories they created with their parents and siblings.