Five Easy Hacks to Get Your Kids Outside
by Kerry Finch ■ Updated: August 19, 2019
Few things highlight the onset of the digital age more than the changing habits of our kids. More than ever before, children are swapping time outside for time in front of a screen.
Motivating your kids to get outdoors and away from their screens can be a real struggle… but we’ve got some ideas that might just help.
Here are our top five tips for getting your kids up and out into the great outdoors.
1. Make An Activity Jar
One of the most common excuses for not going outside has to be ‘but there’s nothing to do!’ Whether your child needs some help coming up with ideas, struggles to make decisions, or is just a little resistant, an activity jar can help!
Get your kids to write out a list of their favourite things to do outside, cut these up, and put them all in a jar. If your kids are short on ideas, you can always add a few suggestions. Then, the next time they need a little inspiration, they can pull some from the activity jar!
2. Write out their Bucket List
Get your kids to write a list of all of the outdoor adventures they want to have and display it in a common area (e.g., on the fridge or in their room).
Maintain the excitement by regularly reviewing the list with them and plan the next activity they want to cross off.
To add a little extra motivation, set a time period (like the summer holidays) and agree on a reward for finishing the list.
3. Schedule adventure days
Set a regular time (say weekly or fortnightly) to get outside as a family, for a group activity.
Get the kids more involved by rotating responsibility for deciding what the next adventure will be. This will help build their sense of ownership and give you a better understanding of what interests and motivates your kids.
You can also use your choices to introduce new experiences and encourage them to try new things.
4. Start a toy rotation
Create some extra excitement by rotating the availability of different sets of toys. To start, separate your outdoor toys into groups. It may help to sort toys into buckets/containers and have a ‘theme’ for each group, like:
- Bats, racquets, and balls
- Bubbles and water toys
- Ropes and hoops
- Chalks and paints
Once you’ve grouped your toys, you can start the rotation – all you need to do is keep one group/bucket out and store the rest. If there is a group your kids like to play with all of the time, this should also be left out.
How you choose to rotate the groups/buckets is up to you (and your kids!) – you may want to switch them regularly (say daily or weekly) or just pull out a new one when they need a little extra motivation.
5. Do everyday activities outside
One of the quickest and easiest ways to create more outside time is to move indoor activities, outdoors. If weather permits, simply encourage your kids to head out to the balcony/patio/backyard to do their homework, read, do crafts, and play games.
To help further reinforce the behaviour, move family meals outside. If you don’t have the furniture or outdoor dining space, you can always improvise with a blanket and some pillows – your kids will love the picnic vibe!
Also, if you’re outside, your kids will likely follow. So, shift some of your daily activities outdoors (even work outside, if you can), to further encourage them to get out in the fresh air.