22 Ideas to Get You Outside & Playing With Your Kids

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cartwheelsHere's a scary statistic -- according to a recent study, about half of parents of preschool-age children say that they don't take their children outside to play on a daily basis. Less outdoor time means less physical exercise, and we wonder why our children are obese?

According to the study, highlighted in The New York Times, only 51 percent of parents said they take a child "for a walk or to play in yard, a park, or a playground" once a day. The stats were worse for girls rather than boys (parents of boys were 16 percent more likely to take them outside for play). While some of the children certainly get outdoor time at preschool or in daycare situations, it's sad to think of how little time parents are promoting the great outdoors.

The thought of being trapped inside with my toddler all day pretty much forces us outside most days. It's the best way for her and her brother to burn off energy, and there's a lot less cleanup than indoors. Barring any extreme weather, there's always something to do right outside your own door. Even if the activities you choose aren't super active ones, still the fresh air and open spaces will likely inspire more movement than being cooped up inside. If you're stuck for ideas as to what to do once you're out there, here are 22 to get you started:

1. Play hopscotch

2. Collect leaves/rocks/flowers

3. Plant a garden

4. Run through the sprinkler

5. Take a nature walk

6. Roll down a hill

7. Walk/skip/jump around the block as many times as you can

8. Blow bubbles

9. Build a fort

10. Have a scavenger hunt

11. Go bird watching

12. Do cartwheels

13. Have a picnic

14. Watch the clouds

15. Paint outside

16. Go fishing

17. Roller skate

18. Play kickball

19. Jump rope

20. Play Four Square

21. Take breakfast to the park on the way to school

22. Talk a walk before bed and count the stars

What are your favorite activities to do with your kids outside?

 

Image via frankpierson/Flickr

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