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zen habits: Get the Kids Outdoors

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Get the Kids Outdoors

Every Sunday is Family Day on Zen Habits.

Do your kids spend a lot of time in front of the TV or video game system? Are they on the internet a lot? If they are like most kids (in America at least), most of their free time is taken up by the TV or other electronic entertainment. In fact, after school, television is the second source of education for our kids. Parents come in third.

My kids are no different, but as a dad I try to limit this kind of passive entertainment. And when I can, I encourage them to read or go outside.

Every Sunday is Family Day for my family, and one of our favorite activities is playing soccer in our front yard as a family. We put on our sneakers, set up orange cones to function as goals, choose teams and start having fun. Sometimes we like to play kickball instead.

When I started running, I started getting the kids running with me. They also like to ride their bikes in the park while I run.

However you do it, get your kids outside. They need to reconnect with the world. They are shut inside the house, insulated from the outside world. They become lazy and in bad shape. It's unhealthy.

Playing outside gets kids in better physical shape, healthier, and forces them to use their imaginations rather than the imagination of some Hollywood executive.

Here are some ideas for things to do outside:

  • soccer
  • fly kites
  • explore the woods
  • treasure hunt
  • go to a playground
  • go to a swimming pool, beach or lake
  • play pirates, or make a pretend fort
  • go jogging
  • ride bikes
  • wash the car
  • rake the yard
  • water balloon fight
  • squirt gun fight
  • play tag
  • hide-n-seek
  • obstacle course race
  • just go for a walk, and talk
  • walk to a store for a treat
There are thousands of other things to do. Coming up with ideas can be a game in itself.

See also:


craig said...

One thing parents may want to look into is geocaching. Essentially a high-tech treasure hunt using GPS, the entry costs are relatively low (<$100 for a basic handheld GPS receiver) and it's a great way to explore your local area and have fun in the process. See http://www.geocaching.com for more details and to get an idea of where geocaches are hidden in your area.

Leo said...

Thanks, Craig, for the cool suggestion.