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The Covid-19 pandemic has illuminated many of the ways our world has changed in the new millennium.   In another time the response literally could not have been anything like the present response has been.  Modern technology has allowed for many jobs and educations to be obtained at home through a digital space.  This pandemic has highlighted a specific shift that many parents and grandparents see in present-day children.  With so much time spent in virtual, augmented, and digital realities, kids are less inclined to spend time outside.  It can be challenging to coerce or encourage children of any age to get some more fresh air when it isn’t a regular part of their routine.  The benefits of playing outside are innumerable, so here are some tips to help you get your kids more active with their tangible environments.

Let The Imagination Run Wild

All who work in pediatric research agree that playtime is pivotal for a child’s development.  To be given space to freely imagine, explore, create, and discover the world around them is incalculably important.  This requires parents to follow a couple of simple guidelines to allow their kids to have fun.  One key is to let your kids know it’s ok to get dirty.  Scraping knees, muddy shirts, and dirty hands are a sign of a day well spent.  Similarly, encourage your kids to play in spaces outside modern jungle gyms.  Walking across a downed tree like a balance beam or hopping across stumps like the ground is lava activates the imagination and stimulates your childs sense of wonder and exploration.  Sand is a great natural resource to play in and is a space that welcomes creative experiences.  Whether it’s digging, building, or playing, sandy areas are some of the best to get your kid hooked on the outdoors.  Being constructive and messy can also get your children invested in outdoor spaces.   Helping your child plant flowers, or even develop a small garden if you have room for it, can be extremely rewarding for the right person.  Whether it’s a community garden or your backyard, gardening is the type of hobby that can be held for a lifetime, so don’t be afraid of introducing your children to it.  

If You Have A Yard, Use It

One of the best advantages you can have to develop an active child is having any semblance of a yard for them to play in.  If you have a yard, balcony, or space that is property outside: use it.  It doesn’t matter how ample the area is, get creative, and make sure your children know that your yard or balcony is a superb space to play in.  If you have less space to operate with, consider taking your average inside activities and doing them outside.  If your child loves coloring, encourage them to color outside for the afternoon.  If you have a little more space and some grass, there are tons of backyard activities you can do to get your children excited to be in the open air.  Think about backyard camping, star gazing, picnics, or treasure hunts.  This lets your kids see their everyday back yard as a space worthy of adventure and exploration.

Ultimately, if you want your child to appreciate the outdoors, you have to show them why they should.  You need to exemplify behaviors that encourage being outdoors and find creative spaces for them to enjoy outside.  It may be a challenge to compete with screens presently, but it’s a worthy challenge to take up given the importance of outside activities in children’s development.