Heading outdoors after being stuck inside can feel like a breath of fresh air. Because it is! Fresh air and sunlight can do wonders for kids and their overall wellness. There are many mental and physical benefits to gain from spending time outside. Plus there are ways to encourage kids who are less interested to spring back to the outdoors. Check out some activities that kids will love and how parents can be positive motivators this spring.

Benefits of spending time outside

Did you know there are physical and mental benefits to spending time outside? Studies even propose that spending time in nature has a positive impact on brain development in kids. And can also help manage ADHD symptoms. Getting outside promotes relaxation and lower stress and cortisol levels too. Make an effort to take advantage of these amazing benefits to help kids spring back to the outdoors this season.

  • Getting outside is motivation to move and exercise, for even more health benefits.
  • Improved low mood and fatigue.
  • Breathing better. Indoor concentrations of air pollutants are 2x-5x higher than the outdoors.
  • Boosted immune system.
  • Better emotional wellness by releasing negative emotions and encouraging optimism and joy.
  • Improved quality of sleep.
  • Cultivated mental rest. Screens and constant noises can overstimulate the mind.
  • Combats developing near-sightedness by spending time in natural light and seeing objects at longer distances.

Way to encourage kids to go outdoors

Habits and hobbies kids establish during the wintertime can be tough to adjust. Try to open them up to new activities outside. Or maybe your child loves the outdoors but gets bored quickly. Help get them up and engaged to go outside by being a positive motivator.

Bring indoor hobbies outside

If you can, bring some of their favorite indoor activities outside. Coloring, building blocks, and dolls can easily be moved to outside playtime. Try to keep away from devices.

Keep it simple to start

If you have a backyard or outdoor space that’s close by, start there. Getting kids interested and staying interested in being outside may be more effective in small spurts. Then once they’ve developed some of their favorite outdoor activities they may be more inclined to stay outside for longer durations of time.

provide outdoor-specific toys

There are plenty of toys available that are specific for outdoor playtime. Hula hoops, jump ropes, diving toys for a pool, water guns, sidewalk chalk and so much more can bring a special touch to outdoor playtime. Make sure that when you’re looking into toys, you consider if they are a good fit for your child’s age and interests.

Get the whole family involved

Make an effort to discover what activities the whole family can enjoy together. Is it going to the local pool? Hiking new trails? Camping excursions? Try whatever sounds good to find what that activity is for your family.

Take them to different places

Public parks, playgrounds, and nature preserves all offer something different. When traveling to your outdoor adventure, keep variety top of mind. Going to too many of the same types of places can become boring.

Include them in your outdoor chores

Have your child lend a hand in whatever outdoor activities you do. Cleaning outdoor furniture, washing cars, gardening, and weed-pulling are all activities you can do together while also getting those chores off your to-do list.

Outdoor activities for kids

Looking for some inspiration for things your child can do outside? Check out this list!

  • Play frisbee
  • Play catch
  • Hopscotch
  • Run through the sprinkler
  • Bring out a slip n slide
  • Play basketball
  • Balloon volleyball
  • Make an obstacle course
  • Fly a kite
  • Roller skating
  • Bike riding
  • Play with sidewalk chalk
  • Go on a bug hunt
  • Make mud pies
  • Paint rocks
  • Bird watching
  • Play with bubbles
  • Create a course for a remote-control car
  • Try crayon melting for crafts
  • Host a car wash
  • Do tie dye
  • Start a photography journal
  • Flower pressing
  • Go fishing
  • Make a bird feeder / birdhouse
  • Shaving cream fight
  • Build sandcastles

To sum up

While some kids may need more encouragement than others, getting outside can make a big difference when it comes to overall wellness. There are plenty of activities to choose from for kids to enjoy on their own or for the whole family to try. Take advantage of the improved weather to spring back to the outdoors and reap the benefits!

Sources: Nemours, Hip Kids, Healthline, Verywell Family, Signup Genius, Pure Wow