We hear it all the time. People will say, “When I was a kid, we spent every waking minute outside playing with our friends. Kids these days just sit in front of a screen!” Are you tired of hearing that? But deep inside you know that being outside is good for your kid’s mental health? That just being outside helps relieve stress. Well, here’s some good news for you, we’ve got “7 Ways to Make Being Outside Irresistible.”
Getting outside instantly helps our mental health. Fresh air and nature naturally make us relax. But there is more to it than that. Right when you step outside, you automatically adjust your vision.
When you are indoors, you are looking at things in the area of about a 12 by 20 foot room. Outdoors you look far away! You can sometimes see for miles. This is healthy for your eyesight and for your mind. It helps relieve stress.
Kids don’t just go outside and stare into space. So what can we do to help them enjoy being outside, help their mental health, help relieve their stress?
Here are seven activities kids can do outside that will not only help them to be calmer, but also tap into their creativity and curiosity. I’ve included things that inspire kids and some that are a good way to be distracted from their worries. I’m sure you’ll find a few in this list that your kids will enjoy!
Create an obstacle course
Obstacle courses are so much fun and everyone can enjoy them. Creating an obstacle course takes creativity, problem solving and curiosity. Being creative is a great way to relieve stress. Help your kids get started and then let them go crazy finding stuff around the house, in the garage or at the thrift store. Boxes from the local hardware store make great tunnels. They will only be limited by their imagination.
Build a fort
Who can resist the idea of having their own fort! There is something so cozy about a small space that is just the right size for you and a friend. Or maybe your ideal fort is a tree fort with many rooms, just like the one in The Swiss Family Robinson. Whatever your dream fort looks like, encourage your kids to create their dream fort.
It can be as simple as hanging some old blankets from a tree branch and attaching it to the ground to create a tent. Again, your kids are only limited by their imagination, your permission and the available materials. Let them give it a try!
Summer is the perfect time to start to enjoy the night sky. Kids are fascinated with space and mythology. Stargazing will definitely engage their curiosity. You can start simply by finding the Big Dipper and move on from there.
An added benefit of stargazing is being outside in the darkness. This setting is great for having deep conversations with your kids. The darkness gives them a chance to open up with you without feeling embarrassed. So check out Orion’s Belt, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor and all the other constellations you can find.
Play a New Outdoor Game
Have you ever played SPUD? How about Monkey in the Middle? If backyard games were part of your childhood, then maybe you have. But if not, here are 6 super fun games that you can play even if you only have 3 people to play with.
Playing outdoor games reduces stress by distraction. Focusing on playing the game gets your child’s mind off whatever may be bothering them. The fresh air and sunshine add to the healthiness of playing in the yard. Why not try a new game today. SPUD anyone?
Go Fly A Kite!
This activity may take some planning, but it is sure worth it. Flying a kite is fun, exciting and awe-inspiring. There is great power in being able to control the small piece of fabric, wood and string as the wind powers it around the sky. If you’ve never flown a kite before then this is a great time to discover how fun and easy it is right along with your child.
Flying a kite helps your child’s mental health by distraction and by getting them physically active. Moving our bodies reduces stress. Once you learn to fly a simple kite, you may want to try some of the more elaborate kites. Who knows, your child may become a kite enthusiast! So get ready to “go fly a kite.”
Scavenger hunts are so much fun and so easy to do. Having a theme for your hunt makes it even easier. This one has a nature theme, but you’re free to try anything! Planning a hunt with your child taps into their creativity and their curiosity. You can plan a hunt where everyone gathers the items on the list, or one where they take pictures as they find everything. The rules are up to you.
Scavenger hunts are especially fun when they are a competition. Are there other kids in the neighborhood who might join the hunt? If you choose to compete, get creative with some fun prizes for the winners. Maybe the winners can plan the next Scavenger Hunt. You may have started a new neighborhood tradition!
Picnics are always fun, but sometimes seem like a lot of work for Mom and Dad. These picnic ideas are easy to make and lots of fun. How fun would it be to surprise your kids with an early morning picnic to watch the sunrise? I bet they would remember that forever! If you’re not a sunrise person, how about heading out to a great spot to watch the sunset? Either way, your kids will love it.
Having a meal in a unique location like this is another way to help your child’s mental health. It might help them open up about what’s bothering them, or they might feel the calm and the security of having your undivided attention. Either way, you can’t go wrong by creating a short, special time watching the beauty of nature.
Now you can easily help your kids find fun and creative ways to spend time outdoors. They’ll have a great time and also relieve some stress. What more could you ask for?