Do you remember the time when arriving home from school, finishing your homework, and going outside to play with the neighborhood kids was the highlight of your day?
According to The Kamik Outside Free Play Survey, “American children spend 35% less time playing outside freely than their parents did. 65% of parents surveyed said they played outside every day during their childhood, while only 30% of their children do the same today.*” We would play freeze tag, jump rope on the sidewalk, ride bikes until our parents yelled it was time to come in and clean up before dinner.
Technology has definitely made an impact on this current generation; with children as young as two years old knowing how to successfully navigate tablets, cell phones, and other electronic devices. Getting kids playing outside is more important than ever because of obesity rates in North America. In recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention [CDC]:
It can be so easy to stay inside and plugged in; however, here are 3 ways to get kids playing outside.
Apps like Pennybank Plus make it easy for you to get kids active outdoors by assigning outside play and offering rewards. For example, one hour of outside play can equal 30 minutes of tablet time or a treat like fruit snacks, after dinner. There are other apps that can help track steps, monitor heart rate, and even give kids outside game ideas. When you team up with technology, it allows kids to track progress and incorporate outside play as a part of their routine.
Nothing is better than leading by example. If you go outside and play WITH your kids, not only are they getting exercise, so are you. Taking your kids to the park and engaging with them, instead of finding a park bench to scroll social media, will show your kids just how important it is to play outside. Get the neighborhood kids together for a friendly game of kickball in the cul-de-sac, grab some sidewalk chalk and show them how you’re the best at hop-scotch. When children see you participate in outside play, they’ll want to get outside as well.
We can’t all be as active with outside play as we might wish, but there are ways to set your kids up for fun. Create an outdoor scavenger hunt and have kids explore the yard or neighborhood looking for items on the list. Here’s a sample outdoor scavenger hunt (also it’s above). Feel free to use the items on this list and add your own!
Before you go, signup for the Pennybank email to receive tips on building habits for children.