Encouraging Kids to Get Outdoors
Outdoor play doesn’t belong to the past – it’s more important than ever to get kids outside and playing. While screens are a necessary part of the modern world, getting outside to play should not take a back seat.
Leaving the house can boost a child’s physical and mental well-being, and help keep them calm and focused. It doesn’t need to be complicated – there are so many simple ways you can help your child break away from the pull of staying indoors. Just don’t forget to keep them sun-safe with Carroten sunscreen!
The Importance of Getting Outside
Getting your kids outdoors has a wide range of benefits for their body and mind.
• Physical. Playing outside helps kids to develop fine motor skills for delicate tasks and lets them practice their gross motor skills for big movements, which have a positive impact on their health, fitness and physical development.
• Social. Unstructured outdoor play helps improve children’s cognitive and social development, practicing skills like communication, cooperation and turn-taking.
• Mental. Playing outside can improve their confidence, imagination and creativity, and gives kids a chance to de-stress. Getting outdoors is a mood booster, and associated with longer attention spans.
• Health. It also has direct health benefits – getting outside could help prevent short-sightedness, and getting some safe sunlight can help boost Vitamin D levels (but don’t forget the sunscreen!). Sunlight stimulates the pineal gland, which can even help boost immunity along with increased feelings of happiness.
Here are some simple ways you can start getting your kids more time outdoors.
Take the Indoors, Outdoors
Sometimes all it takes is doing your regular activities, but in the sun. A picnic is a great place to start, and there’s no need to make it fancy. Taking a meal into the back yard turns a normal meal into a fun experience, and gives everybody a break and a breath of fresh air. There are plenty of indoors activities that can be done outside – you could encourage your children to get outdoors to read their book, take the homework or colouring outside, or set up a table with Lego or blocks.
Mix it Up
When kids are comparing screen time to the outdoors, getting outside can seem boring in comparison. Having a small activity planned can help transition them outside. You could set up an activity – it doesn’t have to be complicated! Sites like Pinterest offer lots of great ideas.
Giving kids a task can also help to make outside extra fun. You might set up a game of “Bingo” and send them on a hunt, or give them a camera and challenge them to photograph different things. Night time can also make a normal activity special. Take the kids to look at the stars, or give them torches and go for a night time walk.
A Bit of Prep
Sometimes it doesn’t take much to help an outing to go smoothly. Planning ahead can help you have the things you need on hand, and makes it easier to gather the motivation to step out the door. Consider getting a bag together with some of your family’s essentials for those impromptu outings – snacks, water, hats, a change of clothes, and a Carroten SPF 50+ sunscreen are a basic idea. Putting clothes and shoes out the night before can help the mornings to go with less fuss. Involving someone else in your plans can also help keep you accountable, even if it’s just organising a playdate in your own back yard.
Getting outside as a family is extremely important. As adults, we often lose sight of how much indoors time we have ourselves until we take a moment to pause. A short walk, a game in the backyard or sharing a picnic is a great way to bond and helps set an example for young children. Once the kids are in the backyard and have had a grownup share their game, they are more likely to find things to do on their own, allowing you to slip away if necessary.
Let’s Get Messy
While kids generate enough mess on their own, giving them the freedom to get messy outdoors can help them to unwind. Watching them dig in the dirt or roll in the grass might make your laundry pile seem like it’s growing by the second, but it will do wonders for your children’s health and mental wellbeing. A bucket of water on a warm day, finger painting, chalk drawing and playing in the sand or mud are a good place to start. To minimise your washing, you might want to have a set of clothes put aside for messy play.
Protecting Little Explorers
While exploring the outdoors is essential for children, it’s important that they stay safe. While caregivers are often aware of physical dangers, they need to consider potential damage that the sun can inflict on young skin.
Harmful UV rays can damage unprotected skin in as little as 15 minutes, and the effects can be lifelong. While getting sunscreen onto squirming children can seem like a bigger hassle than leaving the house, you can make it easier by choosing the right products. A spray sunscreen with a thinner texture, like Carroten’s Suncare Milk Spray SPF50+, is quick to apply and rubs in easily, making it simple to evenly cover large areas of skin and keep your kids protected.
A change doesn’t have to be massive to be important. Running marathons as a family probably isn’t going to happen any time soon, so don’t be afraid to start small. A short walk along your street, an activity outside or even just some time laying in the sunshine are great places to start. Not all outings are going to go smoothly, and it’s unlikely your kids will always been eager and excited to ditch the screens and get outside.
Remember to plan well, pack ahead and include your Carroten sunscreen and after-sun products. With a little bit of effort and planning, you can ditch the roof and get your kids into the fresh air.