In my parenting fantasy, my kids spend hours outside a day. They head out after breakfast and play for a good long while. They eat lunch outside. The back yard is their play arena, and the tree house is where they go for comfort and alone time. We have story time outside and take walks every day no matter what the weather. Got the image?
Confession: My kids often need to be poked and prodded to go outside.
What’s keeping them inside, I ask myself. If they want to read, why don’t they take a book outside? If they’re bored, why don’t they wander out to look at the clouds? If they want to be in a fort, why not the many outdoor options?
Well, I haven’t put my finger on the causes of this resistance, but I have lucked into a few sometimes-solutions.
- A backyard clothesline—I love my clothesline, not just because it allows me to ignore my electric dryer, but because it gets me outside. And when I head outside, chances are my boys will, too.
- Yard work—Ditto #1, and see my earlier post on raking leaves and mud
- A backyard fire pit—Especially useful on cool days (like the ones we’re having now, when it should be sunny and warm, grrrrrr!)
- A good game of hide-n-seek—What kid doesn’t love the thrill of hiding and seeking? Even more exciting when an adult joins in (at least for my young-ish humans)
All of these work the same way, I think. My kids cross the threshold, then nature works her magic.
How do you poke, prod, or otherwise encourage your kids to be outside?