If you’re like me, then you probably like to limit screen time for your kids. Spending time with your kids can be a healthy activity getting everyone off the couch and active outdoors. If your children know that you value activity, they’re more likely to value it themselves.
Here’s a couple fun outdoor activities that our family likes and can get your whole family spending an active time together:
This is a simple one when you don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing or having to do a lot of serious physical activity. Keep a supply of sidewalk chalk in your supply closet!
Let your child’s inner artist come out and when the rain washes it away you can start all over. If you really want to get jumping, sketch out a hopscotch grid and go to town.
Our family enjoys biking our neighborhood trail whenever we get the chance. It brings a calm to our hectic schedules. Sometimes if time and weather permit, we’ll go to the beach and ride our bikes along the trails there. I realize not everyone lives close to the beach but it can be fun riding along a canal or other body of water in your city!
Here are a few ideas that we haven’t tried ourselves but look really fun. We are adding them to our list and hope to do them really soon!
This is a great activity that’s been going on since 2000. Currently, there are millions of geocaches hidden around the world.
You can download the app and then follow your GPS on an outdoor adventure to locate this “hidden treasure.” Once you find it, you sign the log and know that you’ve accomplished something and had a chance to bond along the way.
Many local communities have weekend farmer’s markets. You can walk around outdoors and check out the incredible produce the local farmers have to offer. It’s a good way to introduce your kids to fresh fruits and veggies and instill in them a belief in supporting local businesses and independent growers.
This one caught on with college students years ago, but it’s one that the whole family can really enjoy. Some people buy all kinds of frisbees to play with, but you really only need a few that you can pick up at the dollar store. You can even make your own “course” in your backyard by designating a goal and having everyone see who can get the closest to it with their frisbee.
That’s just a few things you can do to get your kids moving and involved in the outdoors. Sure, they may complain about bug bites, the heat, or a few cuts and scrapes along the way, but those can be taken care of easily and everyone will enjoy spending time together.
Unfortunately, that also leads to a very high rate of injury among these children and teens. When you hear about the horrific injuries that pile up in professional sports, you must realize that 40% of all sports-related injuries happen to children between 5 and 14 years old.
Here are more stats that put the problem of kids’ sports related injuries into perspective:
1. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over half of all sports related injuries could have been prevented. This underscores the need for children to wear proper protective gear and to be careful when practicing or playing a sport.
In the case of biking and skateboarding, children should always wear safety head gear. In other sports, schools need concussion policies in place for the diagnosis and treatment of this condition so that injured students aren’t put in harm’s way by playing hurt.
3. In one year, there were 1.35 million emergency room visits for children all stemming from just 14 sports. What makes this especially problematic is the fact that these are ER visits, which are generally more expensive for those dealing with insurance payments.
But also, many times parents don’t follow up with treatment because they think the problem has been taken care of by the ER physician. Often the ER doctor is just getting the child stabilized and out of the “danger zone” and full treatment requires attention from the child’s regular doctor.
Look, we all want to take care of our children and as much as we want to, you can’t wrap them up in bubble wrap and protect them from the world until they’re 18. You must let them go out and experience the world and if you don’t let them take part in sports activities, you’ll seriously hinder the physical and social development.
However, you must consider if contact sports are the right option for your child and in all situations, you need to ensure your child is protected with the right gear and gets the right treatment if they are injured.