So How Do We Get Kids Outside?

In this part of the series, Morgan Yates provides tips on how to keep children engaged and safe outdoors.

Well, bottom line, you send them out there.  However, if it were as easy as this, we would not need this discussion.  So we need to find ways to keep kids safe, or, more importantly, make parents feel like their kids are safe, while they are outside benefiting from unstructured play time.  Here are a few suggestions, (however, this is by no means an exhaustive list, and I would certainly encourage families to find things that work for them).

  • Find outdoor things to do as a family.  Take a family hike or beach walk, take up a sport as a family or otherwise do outdoor things together.
  • Take turns with other neighborhood parents keeping an eye on the group of neighborhood children.  Everyone takes turns watching the children in the park, you not only get to know your neighbors but you know your children are safe without actually having to watch them yourself all the time and the children have lots of other children to play with.
  • Do a lunch or dinner picnic, with some play time.  A great way to get everyone outside.
  • Challenge yourself to walk your kids to school even one day a week.  A great way to get active as a family, and to meet other families.
  • Have a look at what your local recreation department offers in terms of play in the park activities.  The majority of these are unstructured play time with some outdoor equipment provided. And if you work for the local recreation department, think about advocating the organization of these activities yourself.
  • Use social media to connect with other parents who are interested in the same activities. Take a look at your local site for ideas.


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