The trick to getting more outdoor time with your child
Playing outside is so important for kids and I've made it a goal of mine to make sure my son spends plenty of time enjoying the outdoors. It's so easy to get caught up in homework, and then just want to lie on the couch and watch TV.
The reality is, things work best for us when we play outdoors first, before homework. We make use of the daylight hours, the friends outside and burn off some steam from school.
We received this Hot Wheels® toy for review and headed to the wide open spaces of one of our local playgrounds after dropping off what felt like a 100-pound bag of school books! Since this fun toy needs some level ground to gather the speed to take off, we needed some outdoor, uninterrupted space. A regular hovering RC helicopter can too easily be played with in the apartment, but this toy forced us outside, which is a good thing! The air quality is a lot better!
And on this particular day, we hit the jackpot. We ran into several of my son's friends from school. They were all fascinated by the abilities of this toy, and they each had their chance to test it out. That's one big bonus of living in New York City; the higher concentration of people increases our chance of running into friends whenever we go out.
Growing up, there were fewer activities to do in the house to take up time. There were no video games, no iPads and certainly not hundreds of TV channels. Kids today live in a totally different world than we grew up in. And what makes it harder, is now parents get caught up in technology themselves, and often don't notice that their child hasn't played outside in days.
Parents have to pay extra attention to this. When the whole family gets caught up in a digital world, they miss out on spending time together, and appreciating what is all around us.
Hours go by and then, especially with less daylight at this time of year, it may even be too late to go outside and play. We are lucky and have basketball courts outside of our building. My son is now at an age where he can cross the street and go out by himself to play, but going alone is not so much fun. The other playgrounds are farther away, so I will take him to those, and he often spots his friends there. That is the key for us; once my son finds some neighborhood friends, he can easily be out all day with them.
When we ran into his friends the other day, it was so great to see them play. They all took turns retrieving his new toy, and then they moved on to playing soccer when the battery ran low. My goal of getting my son outside was easily accomplished, and once several kids got involved in a fun activity, they all hung outside for several hours.
There are lots of ways to make sure your child is getting enough outdoor play time. You can plan play dates, arrange outdoor lunches in parks, get them involved in an after-school sport and more. What works best for us is just getting outside with a toy or a piece of sports equipment, and once the kids get together the play is guaranteed!
Disclosure: This post is part of a collaboration between Hot Wheels® and SheKnows.