Published on March 30, 2017 inParenting on LandOMoms.com
Let’s get real: there are only so many ways to entertain kids all winter and lots of them involve a screen. But with the first peek of sunshine and spring weather, you might be ready to give the kids a gentle nudge outside. But how do you get them to make the switch from inside stuff like screens to the sunny outdoors?
Here are 6 simple ideas to re-activate your kids this spring.
Get Creative with Chalk
I know, I know. Chalk seems so basic. But I’m here to tell you that this oldie is a goodie! I remember spending hours drawing on sidewalks as a kid and my kids enjoy the same activity now themselves. You can always brighten up the chalk game a few different ways.
Set out a small bucket of water and have them dip their chalk into it before creating their sidewalk masterpieces. The results will be textured, vibrant creations they will love. If you want to get even fancier, they have neon, sparkly and spray chalk available at lots of stores.
You can also incorporate chalk into some pretty fun games. There’s good old hopscotch plus some learning games, like Dinosaur Toss, that are so much fun, the kiddos won’t even realize they are learning.
Play with Rocks
Who doesn’t have some rocks around? Whether you use small rocks for landscaping, or have larger ones in your garden, they are typically easy to come by, right? Kids can sort rocks by color or size, use them to create patterns, or paint them. They are also great for pretend play. My kids like to pretend rocks they find are people or cars. I also paint alphabet letters on them for fun outdoor letter practices.
Send them on a Hunt
Kids love scavenger hunts! They just take a few minutes to set up. Choose some items, hide them in the yard and provide clues or a check list. Besides getting the kids outdoors in the sunshine, scavenger hunts encourage them to be active as they run all over searching high and low.
Weed – I mean “the Plant Pulling Game!”
This may seem like a weird one. As an adult, I HATE weeding. However, I have found that my kids LOVE IT. I discovered this on accident when my kids started pulling weeds and putting them in sand buckets. They would try to see how many buckets they could fill. Provide kids with a pair of gardening gloves and let them go to town. Of course, you’ll want to make sure your kids know the difference between weeds and actual plants. Assuming they don’t accidentally pull out your prized peonies, it’s a win-win for everyone!
Now that your kids have pulled the weeds, they can get started on a garden. This is a great way to have them dig in, get dirty and learn about the growth process. If you have younger kids, you can simply set up a bin with potting soil and some cups and let them kids play and plant on a smaller scale.
An added benefit of having kids plant is that it can teach them a sense of responsibility. When my kids have planted seeds, they have been very involved in the caring of those seeds, making sure to water them each day. They feel so empowered to see a healthy plant grow from their efforts!
Play with Outdoor Toys
Some simple outdoor toys will entertain kids for hours. A jump rope, hula hoop and ball can be used in so so many ways. Since my kids are competitive, they like to hula hoop together and see who can do it the longest. Jump rope competitions are also a frequent sight around here. With a simple ball, kids can practice rolling, throwing and dribbling.
As you can see, you don’t have to spend a lot of time or money to encourage kids to get outdoors and enjoy the spring weather. If your kids have screen-time, you might want to hold off on digital devices until sundown. This lets kids enjoy the outdoors without feeling like they are missing something. You’ll be surprised how quickly they get lost in their outdoor activities. Don’t forget about yourself mom! Try to occasionally take a break from everything you have going on, to take a walk or just sit on the back step and soak in some sun. Sun tea, anyone?