Today there are so any fun things to do without ever leaving the house that it becomes harder and harder to teach children to enjoy the outdoors. No matter what age your children might be, their health can be improved by some time spent out of doors. Not only is getting outside good for physical health, but changing the setting and exposing kids to the many interesting things to see and do in the outdoors can help them to relax and allow their spirits to truly soar. But how does one go about getting kids at any age to pass on the television, the computer and all the indoor electronic entertainment options that are available? Here are five suggestions that will help you to learn how to teach children to enjoy the outdoors.
1 Be conscious of how much time your kids are spending indoors. Kids all experience stretches of time when they seem to prefer to be inside all the time and hardly poke their nose out the door. Perhaps the weather is unseasonably hot, or cold or wet. Or maybe someone got a new indoor game that they really can’t seem to pull away from. Maybe someone has a pile of homework that leaves them drooping and just wanting to sit in front of the television. These are all understandable motives for occasionally going through dry spells in terms of outdoor exercise. As parents, when we notice these “dry spells” becoming a way of life it’s time to take notice and begin to plan how to teach our children to enjoy the outdoors once again.
2. Introduce Your Children to Outdoor Activities, Indoors Surprisingly enough sometimes you can do things indoors that will help to lead children outside. Depending on the age of the children, you can share a movie, a book, some stickers or something on line and then use it as a spring board to investigate or in sense reenact the same activity outdoors. In this way watching a basketball game can be used to energize children to go out and play some hoops themselves. Putting some bird stickers in an album might be used to encourage children to go outside to discover what signs of bird life are present nearby.
3. Create Random Short Outdoor Activities Sometimes trying to send kids outdoors without any further goals or direction may be met with resistance. Kids are no different from adults, sometimes it takes something more than a general suggestion to motivate them to a new activity or moving at all. So instead of saying “I want you to go out and get some fresh air” parents need to create a few random tools to move kids along. Asking kids to deliver something to a neighbor, clean off the front walk, try out their new sneakers, even walk out to the mailbox might be just enough to get them going. They may find on their own that they really prefer being outdoors than in.
4.Don’t Send Your Kids Outdoors, Go with Them Getting to know how to teach children to enjoy the outdoors sometimes will involve teaching yourself as well. The thing is that kids, especially younger kids, really enjoy the opportunity to spend time with adults, especially their own parents. That’s why you will find that they will respond much more positively to an outdoor activity if they discover that you will part of whatever it is that they are doing. One way how to teach children to enjoy the outdoors is being the first one out the door yourself. You can ride bikes, play ball, blow bubbles, work in the garden. Sometimes it’s enough that you are just outside with them and available to watch them, other times you may want to join in. One of the best and perhaps easiest ways how to teach children to enjoy the outdoors is to be a shining example and role model for them. It will be as good for you as it is for them.
5. Combine Being Out of Doors with Other Activities Sometimes children can be led outdoors and will actually enjoy staying outdoors if you can make going outdoors part of another activity. For example instead of reading a story on the floor in the family room, how about taking a blanket and settling in under a tree amd reading yoru story there. Setting out an outdoor picnic or serving snacks outdoors are among the best lures available for bringing young people out into the great outdoors. There are plenty of board games that can be played indoors but can also be managed on a picnic table outside. Once outside for one activity children often show a reluctance to go in again. Mission accomplished.
6. Relocate the Center of Family Activity In the winter or during spells of inclement weather it may be hard to be anywhere but in the house. However once good weather installs itself for a time, consider the possibility of recentering family life outdoors. Try, without making it an effort, to move as many activities outdoors as possible. You can peel vegetables just as easily sitting outdoors as you can at the kitchen sink. Reading your magazine, sewing, even phone conversations on the cell can happen out of the house. By putting yourself more and more out of doors you will encourage your children to be equally creative about where they do their daily living and you will have found another idea for how to teach children to enjoy the outdoors.
7. Take day trips that encourage enjoyment of the outdoors. Most kids love to hop in the car and go someplace, any place. A good way how to to teach children to enjoy the outdoors is to make the day trips you take include at least some outdoor time. Of course sometimes you will want to take kids to the movies, the mall or even the library. But try to intersperse these indoor treats with a trip to the zoo, the park, the beach or a nature trail. Let them get involved in planning an outdoor outing when you can. This involvement will encourage their interest in outdoor activities.
8. Don’t force the outdoor issue or make it stressful. As much as you may want your children to get the full benefit of outdoor exercise you can push too hard. Knowing how to teach children to enjoy the outdoors also means not making a big deal out of it all the time, not putting unnecessary stress on yourself or the kids to get out there and enjoy the day. Suggestions, motivations, moving activities outdoors should all be done in moderation. Changing attitudes towards outdoor activity will likely take time and it will be twice as difficult if you make going outside an issue over which you and your children have constant confrontations.
Children go through many phases including times when going out seems to hard, boring, or just not fun. As a parent you have tools at your disposal to help children to move out of those phases to a full, rich and healthy involvement in and appreciation for the great outdoors. Maybe it’s time to think about how to teach children to enjoy the outdoors.