Inside: Learn how to encourage your children to spend more time outdoors this spring and why it’s good for them.

A guest post by Rose Morrison

Adults are spending more and more time indoors and children have followed suit. While it used to be common for kids to play outside from sun up to sun down, that has become quite rare.

Are kids missing out on anything spending more time inside?

Read on for the benefits of spending time outdoors and ways to encourage your children to get outside.

You can join in the fun and experience the benefits of the outdoors for yourself too!

Now that spring is here and the weather is warming it’s the perfect time to use these strategies to encourage your children to spend more time outdoors.

encourage your children to spend more time outdoors

Why Kids Spend So Much Time Indoors

If you grew up before the early 2000s, you probably spent much time outside running around and climbing trees. While this used to be the norm, it’s becoming more uncommon.

Today’s children end up watching screens for hours rather than playing in the mud. They’re often indoors watching TV, surfing the Internet, and playing video games.

With many digital distractions taking over the attention of many children, they’ve become accustomed to staying inside their bedrooms rather than wandering through the woods with friends. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children ages eight to 10 spend about six hours daily using entertainment media. Over a year, that adds up to 91 full days.

This is a significant number, considering that children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily.

While it’s easy to blame technology, some avoid going outside for other reasons. For instance, introverted children often feel uncomfortable playing with strangers. A child who experienced bullying may fear interacting with other kids.

New situations can cause discomfort and it is easier to feel a sense of control with technology that you don’t when playing outside. But this is an important and necessary life skill to develop.

kid staring at a kindle

What Are the Benefits of Outdoors?

Limiting your child’s screen time and encouraging them to go out can be challenging. However, the advantages of being outdoors can give you reasons to try it.

There are many benefits to spending time outside. Here are a few of them.

1. It Builds Confidence

Scheduling unstructured playtime outdoors allows children to cultivate their self-esteem. The outside environment exposes kids to varying situations where they learn independently.

They become physically and mentally tougher as they adapt to the outside world.

2. It Promotes Better Physical Health

One of the most apparent benefits of spending time outdoors is improved health. Children who spend most of their free time outside have a lower risk of obesity. They must walk, run, and jump to strengthen their endurance and muscles.

Additionally, sun exposure provides vitamin D that supports the immune system and muscle development. Getting out means your child can get this essential vitamin for free.

children playing in a sandbox

3. It Boosts Social Skills

Children are constantly hooked to gadgets, which may hamper their ability to socialize. Going outside gives them plenty of chances to interact with people.

At a playground, they can meet new people and play with new friends. When playing in nature, they can explore and solve problems together. 

4. It Encourages Creativity

Nature is a natural antidote for stress. It also helps promote self-motivation, engagement, and enjoyment, all contributing to improved learning.

When engaged in unstructured play and education, your child encounters a chance for decision-making, stimulating creativity and logic. The outside world offers learning opportunities that are often missing in an indoor environment.

encourage your children to spend more time outdoors

7 Strategies to Get Your Children Outside This Spring

Discover practical and exciting ways to engage your little one in outdoor activities.

1. Plan a Playdate

Inviting their best friends for fun outside is a great way to encourage your child to turn off their gadgets. Set up a picnic table in your backyard, offer delicious snacks and bring toys outside. Consider what indoor activities you could move outside.

If they love arts and crafts, provide colorful chalks kids can use to draw on your brick walls or the floor. If they want help getting started, provide them with prompts to draw to encourage their creativity. Once the fun is over, you can use your garden hose to clean the drawings.

little girl playing with bubbles

2. Add Some Fun to Your Backyard

Make your backyard come alive with play equipment like climbing frames, swings, or an inflatable pool to get your child excited. Just ensure you design an environment so they can have fun without the risk of serious injuries.

Fixtures like fairy lights or spotlights can improve your outdoor lighting so your kid stays safe while they play in the evening.

If you have a toddler or a preschooler, use their interest to boost their excitement for the outdoors. Build a treehouse for their dolls or set up a race car track around the trees in your backyard.

If you have a school-aged little one, think about pieces they’ll enjoy for many years.

3. Incorporate Sports

Instead of just telling your child to turn off the TV, suggest an activity that will excite them. For instance, if they love watching basketball, invite them to play in a nearby court.

Join in the fun and test your own skills by playing with them. Hype up the game to get everyone feeling more enthusiastic. By making outdoor activities exciting for your child, you can expect them to show more willingness to go out.

encourage your children to spend more time outdoors

4. Introduce Gardening

Another way of getting your child involved in the outdoors is through your gardening.

It entails messy and muddy work, which can teach kids responsibility, cause-and-effect relationships, and a better appreciation for nature. Encourage them to plant trees, flowers and vegetables with you. 

You can start by planting low-maintenance herbs like basil, dill, and cilantro. Explain that they need watering and sunshine to grow. Remember that herbs must receive five to six hours of direct sunlight daily, so plant them where the sun shines brightest. 

There’s so much life to explore in the garden—bugs, caterpillars, butterflies and worms are also waiting to be spotted and examined. With so many things to do in the garden, it would be hard to get bored.

5. Lead by Example

A key way to encourage your children to spend more time outdoors is to spend more time outdoors yourself.

Kids learn more by what we do than what we say, so lead by example. Make outdoor adventures part of your family culture.

Go on family walks or hikes together. Try exploring new places together.

Create boundaries with technology and devices at home and be intentional with spending more time enjoying the great outdoors together. While your kids may resist it initially, hopefully, they’ll learn to love the time spent as a family outside.

encourage your children to spend more time outdoors

6. Schedule a Camping Trip

Spring is a time for enjoying the sight of bluebells, birds, bees and longer days, making it an ideal time for a family camping getaway.

The weather presents a perfect opportunity for your kid to try and explore new activities like fishing, kayaking, and hiking.

It’s also a great way to make new friends while making s’mores over the campfire.

7. Make it a Challenge

Do you have a competitive family? A great way to encourage your kids to spend more time outdoors is be joining a challenge.

1000 hours outside is a great way to do that. Join other families with the same goal or simply set your own goal of how much time you want to spend outdoors.

Find creative ways to up your outside time and have fun trying new things. You may be surprised to see how much your kids rise to the challenge.

Invite Children to Enjoy Time Outside

Encouraging kids to go out becomes more and more challenging as digital distractions increase at a rapid pace. With these tips, you can encourage your children to spend more time outdoors and develop their love for exploring.

Rose Morrison is a freelance writer who covers home décor and organization tips. She is also the managing editor of Renovated. You can check out her Twitter to see more of her work.

How do you encourage your children to spend more time outdoors? Let us know in the comments section below!

Sign up on the form below to get weekly simplifying and intentional living inspiration sent straight to your inbox. You’ll also receive the free Priorities Assessment Worksheet to help you declutter your schedule and focus on what matters most!

Sharing is caring :)

One Comment

  1. That’s absolutely true. People tend to watch TV and use their phones a lot, even when going out, each person often carries a phone to play games, text, or post newly taken photos. Some notable benefits of children engaging in outdoor activities are increased connections, self-affirmation, and the development of certain skills. My wife always plans family outings around the city or farther away to relax and explore interesting things, and I’m very grateful for what she does. Thank you for sharing ideas and values ​​about encouraging children to participate in outdoor activities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *