5 Ways To Get Your Child To Turn Off Video Games and Get Outside To Play

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We are blogging from Austin where we gratefully have a break from the Chicago cold and are seeing a lot of families outside taking in some play time. (We love all the Kolcraft, Jeep and Contours strollers we are seeing in Austin! They are everywhere!) It made us stop and think about how important play is for children. Remember our friends at NWF who did a study on the importance of outdoor play? Turning off the TV and video games and playing outdoors has so many benefits for your child. It may be difficult to pull them away from the lure of electronics so a few ideas to help.

  1. Start a garden – Starting a simple garden, be that in a planter or in the yard, is a great way to get your child outdoors and spend special one-on-one time with each other. Together you can plant flowers or vegetables and watch them grow. It also teaches your child responsibility since a garden needs daily care of weeding, watering, etc. It can also be a time to help your child’s science classes become alive.
  2. Take a neighborhood walk – Walk to different parts of your neighborhood and observe the birds and other animals. See if you can identify birds by their different chirps. Take note of the different trees and flowers you see as well as the cloud shapes. Nature is your canvas to learning!
  3. Become a stargazer – Get a blanket and gaze up at stars. Get a guidebook on stars from your library or download Google sky. Make a game of seeing how many stars you can find!
  4. Childhood games – Remember Mother May I, Red Rover, Kick the Can, Red Light Green Light, Hopscotch, blowing bubbles? Teach your child your favorite childhood games, get them moving and share a part of your childhood fun with them.
  5. Hit the beach – Spend a day at the beach looking for unusual rocks, shells, etc. See which ones you can identify and those you cannot, use your imagination and give them a name! If you don’t live near a body of water, go to a public pool and pretend that you are sea creatures – dolphins, crabs, sharks, etc. You can make your own underworld fun!

What are your ideas for getting your kids outside to play?

13 Responses to “5 Ways To Get Your Child To Turn Off Video Games and Get Outside To Play”

  1. Tabathia B April 5, 2011 at 5:56 am #

    It’s so hard to get kids to turn off the electronics (portable games, computers, tv, etc) to go outside I am having to constantly renegotiate computer time. Now I tell the kids they must spend at least equal time doing everything

  2. Cheryl Christian April 5, 2011 at 7:15 am #

    Remembering my childhood we were always outside when the weather was nice. I have 10 and 11 yr old grandchildren who I try to have help me in the garden while they are here. The tv lures one of them, so I have to limit and say I need help outside. Now we have a five month granddaughter, so the plan will be to do the same and engage her in lots of outdoor time when she visits. I agree with all the suggestions in your blog plus your children are young for such a short time, so get out there, bond, and enjoy each other while teaching valuable communication with exercise.

  3. MichelleH April 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Great idea Tabathia!

  4. MichelleH April 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    They are lucky to have such an involved grandma. YAY you!

  5. kjasus April 6, 2011 at 6:41 am #

    thanks for the tips! we finally have warm enough temps to fling open the doors and head outside. soon the ground will thaw and we can start our backyard garden.

  6. MichelleH April 6, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    You are welcome Kjasus. Would love to see photos of your garden!

  7. mframe April 8, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

    Thanks for the tips. It is just starting to get warm enough to go outside and my kids couldn’t be happier. We will have to start a garden this year!

  8. Jennifer April 9, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    Great tips!! A garden is a wonderful idea!

  9. MichelleH April 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Thank you Jennifer!

  10. MichelleH April 12, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Glad they you found them helpful mframe!

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