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Fun activities that will get your kids playing outside again

Vera Sweeney, mom, blogger, social media influencer and New York resident, is the founder of LadyAndTheBlog.com. Her lifestyle and parenting brand helps busy women stay on top of the latest trends in fashion, food, family and travel. Cat...

Our kids are growing up in a digital world. Just last night I was talking to my daughter about what I used to do after school.

There were no iPads or iPods or Nintendo DS games in the '80s. I mean, we didn't even have cable or beepers or cell phones yet. How barbaric! But you know what? We survived it and our creativity flourished.

As a parent, it's very easy to just turn on the television or the computer and place our little ones on autopilot. But that's not the solution. I know firsthand how easily a child can cut off from his or her environment once they digitally connect.

I had a major wake-up call a few weeks ago when I had several children over at my house for a play date and I caught them all sitting on the couch playing their own video games. Not together mind you! Each child was on his own device and no one was talking to one another. I gasped out loud and demanded that everyone grab their shoes and coats and hit the swing set in my backyard. At first, the kids grumbled because I was making them close out in the middle of their levels. But once they made it onto the grass, all was forgiven. They had a blast.

So, it's very important to keep our kids playing and running and swinging and exploring. It's crucial that we keep our kids engaging in a tangible way with other children.

Are you looking for ways to get your children outside and have them embrace the backyard once again? Here's a list of suggestions you could offer up to your child that will bring back their need to explore.

1. Build a fort

Use outside patio furniture to create a fort so they can defend themselves from the oncoming slaughter (you know, the fake army that's on its way).

2. Play spy

A man on a mission! Encourage your children to collect clues about something that is happening close to your house. Is that pesky squirrel eating all your pumpkins again? Have them tail that furry creature and collect evidence and present it to you at the end of the play date.

3. Scavenger hunt

This is so easy to do. You can either create a list of your own or head online and find one that is already created. The focus? Nature of course! List out items such as: something that is green, something that is long, five round rocks, something you would eat. Break them in to teams for some healthy competition!

4. The power of chalk and bubbles

A very long time ago, I purchased a $20 bubble machine and I can't tell you how much use I've gotten out of it. When it's a nice day outside, I pour some bubble mixture into the machine, turn it on and let my children artistically take over my driveway all while having a sea of bubble envelope them. It's so much fun to watch!

5. Toys that go

There are plenty of toys that are made for the outside. I'm talking full-blown action rides. Get your kids playing outdoors again by giving them one like the Hot Wheels® RC Street Hawk™ Remote Controlled Flying Car. This toy can ride on the floor or take flight, it's completely up to your child. He controls the motion with an easy-to-use remote control. It's fast, it's fun and this toy will keep the kids occupied outside for a long time.

What ideas do you have for outdoor play? I would love it if you would share it with us. We are always looking for more inspiration.

Disclosure: This post is part of a collaboration between Hot Wheels® and SheKnows.

Photo credit: Emma Kim/Cultura/Getty images
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