How to Encourage Kids to Spend More Time Outdoors

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Today I have a guest post for you from Sarah about how to encourage kids to spend more time outdoors. You can find out more about her at the end of the post. Enjoy!

How to Encourage Kids to Spend More Time Outdoors

In the past decade, there’s been an epidemic of kids spending time indoors. While parents are quick to blame it on smartphones and tablets, the real truth is that kids aren’t getting encouraged to spend time in the outdoors. This is quickly changing, as parents are in a rush to get their kids into the fresh air and sun. It’s quite the challenge, but it’s something you can manage with a bit of effort.

Make an outdoor fun zone

A big part of getting kids to spend time outside is making the “outside” a bit more fun. While kids do enjoy spending some time in the fresh air and sun, it gets old very fast. They need some extra motivation to get out there and have fun.

The good news is that they don’t need a large space to work with. With a vivid imagination, your child could even have fun in a cupboard for all you know. This means that whatever you can do with the outdoor space you’ve got is going to be pretty effective.

Consider all the things children find fun and interesting. Slides are a great example. They can be hours upon hours of fun for a child. Sometimes your kid will slide down the slide, while other times they might try to climb up. There are also countless variations to go with these, but that’s for their imagination to sort out. Your task would be to get that slide into the picture. If you have a sandbox in your backyard, this would be the ideal spot to place the end of the slide, to minimize chances of injury.

Host backyard parties

If there’s anything kids like, it’s spending time with their friends. Whether it’s in or outside, they’ll find ways to have some fun. Adding friends to the mix can even make the outdoors look a lot more appealing for your kids.

With this in mind, you need to come into contact with the other kids’ parents. Organize a few play dates here and there and try to keep them outside. This will create a regular routine for your child and their friend, making outdoor activities seem like a worthwhile way to have fun. The kids can spend time in the park, or you can take them on a walk through the local woods. As long as they have the company of their friend or friends, they’ll like it more.

If you’re feeling particularly productive, you can always organize an outdoor party. It’s a tougher job than it seems, but it’s something that would really hype the kids up for a nice day out. If you have a backyard, you could always get the kids together and make a small barbecue party. There are always some birthdays coming up, so why not take advantage of this? A regular birthday cake for kids is a pretty cheap investment, especially with parents chipping in left and right. As long as it’s a party, your kids will love it.

Install a pool

Swimming is one of the most universally-loved outdoor activities. Everyone likes to take the occasional dip in a pool. When it’s swelteringly hot outside, nothing can make you feel as fresh as getting into a pool. This love of aquatic fun goes double when you’re a kid. Being in water gets kids going like no other activity, and they can have fun for days on end.

Heading to the pool might be fun, but it’s also a hassle to do on most days. It might not be in your neighborhood, and even if it is, you have to constantly watch over your child. Having your own pool, on the other hand, could be a lot more manageable. Now, you don’t need an integrated swimming pool in the middle of your backyard just to get your kids to play outside. Even an inflatable pool would bring in some satisfying results. And you don’t have to sacrifice a big portion of your backyard to install it. Bring in a few inflatable toys, power-up the pool, and you should be good to go.

Two girls with sunglasses swimming in a pool - swimming is one way to encourage kids to spend more time outdoors

Get a camping trip going

Camping is a pretty fun activity for everyone involved unless you’re the parent chaperoning the activity. Still, it’s time well-spent getting your kids in the great outdoors and introducing them to nature. A couple of sleeping bags, some canned food, and a lot of mosquito spray is all the camping gear you need to have a good time.

There’s an endless amount of nature to explore and your child will enjoy moving around in a new and unfamiliar environment. Make sure you bring some fun supplies with you to pass the time between exploring and camping out. A frisbee can always come in handy, especially if there are grass fields along the way. Bring a few of your kid’s toys and they’ll be especially grateful. While camping is fun, everyone gets homesick after a while. Kids are especially prone to this, even after spending only half a day somewhere else. It’s nice to have a reminder of home with them.

Give them some outdoor gadgets

Much like most grown-ups, children absolutely adore gadgets of all kinds. The difference is that kids find a lot of creative ways to make use of some simple toys. When their imagination starts running wild, even a simple stick can be entertaining for hours. A fully-fledged gadget could last them who knows how long.

As a parent, you’ll want to take advantage of your kid’s love for toys and introduce some gadgets that are great for outdoor use. Great examples include bicycles and skateboards. A lot of parents aren’t exactly enthusiastic about letting their children get on a skateboard due to safety concerns, but it’s not something to worry about.

Kids are constantly falling and tripping over things and they tend to be fine. They can try riding it in the backyard with supervision at first, and then you can let them develop their skills alone. Kids will rarely start with a bicycle from a young age, so you should consider getting a tricycle first. It would be quite a bit safer and help them grasp the concept of how to ride a bike.

Introduce them to gardening

There’s no feeling quite like gardening on a nice sunny day. When the winter passes and makes way for the spring, spending time outside tending to plants becomes a very fun and relaxing pastime. It’s not one people often associate with children, though. This is a real shame because kids can stand to learn something from gardening.

It’s an activity that brings quite a few benefits to kids. For one, they learn how to handle a bit of responsibility. Taking care of plants and keeping them alive is somewhat difficult. Between watering them and thinking about how much you should water them on any given day, it seems like too difficult of a task for a child. However, this isn’t the right way to look at it. Gardening is an opportunity for any child to enjoy some time outside while getting to know their environment. The green thumb and skills will come with experience.

The great thing about gardening is that it can be loads of fun for a child. They already like playing in the dirt, but this is playing with a purpose. Moving plants around changes the environment of the backyard and this fascinates children, who are mostly used to things staying the same. Watering doesn’t seem like a lot of fun at first, but this changes quickly when you introduce new ways of watering plants.

Instead of taking a watering pot and going from plant to plant, your child might enjoy it more if they had a hose to use. Put a pressured water sprayer in their hands and you won’t be able to get ahold of it again. It’s endless fun for a child, and it gets the job done to a degree. A bit of overwatering won’t do a lot of damage in the summer, so you shouldn’t worry too much.

Young girl in a garden - gardening is one way to encourage kids to spend more time outdoors

Get excuses out of the way

As we all know, children aren’t very cooperative. If you were to ask your kids whether or not they want to go outside at any given time, the results would vary. One day they want to spend all their time indoors, while another day they’ll be itching to go outside.

You also have kids that don’t like the outdoors for a wide variety of reasons. If the weather is too hot, they would rather spend time relaxing in an air-conditioned space. Fear of bugs and creepy crawlies is pretty common among children. The outdoors are full of them, so they might as well avoid going outside, right?

These things hardly excuse not spending any time outside. However, you shouldn’t boss your kids around. Take a softer approach and try to use reason. If it’s hot out, bring some extra water and maybe even a parasol. A brisk walk in the forest would alleviate concerns of heat. When it comes to bugs, try to explain that they’re a harmless and necessary part of nature. Try to foster an interest in insects with the help of a little biology. A few fun facts should get them more familiar and less afraid of creepy crawlies.

Even legitimate concerns like sunburn and allergies can be resolved. Take sunscreen whenever you’re heading out on a sunny day. Take lots of water to keep your child hydrated as well. There are lots of different outdoor environments, and they don’t all have pollen. Pick the right environment that suits your child, and you’ll find that there will be fewer excuses made and they’ll be enthusiastic for a day in the outdoors.


If you want your children to spend more time outside of their homes rather than in, you need to make it a bit more appealing. With a few changes to your backyard and some field trips, you should be able to quickly change their mind about the outdoors. Consider the above examples and you’ll get your child yearning for more nature and outdoor fun.

Guest Author Sarah Jessica SmithAuthor Bio

Sarah Jessica Smith is a young blogger from Sydney. She is in love with life and all the things that can make her daily routine easier. She loves to write about home improvement, lifestyle, and all the small things that make life such a great adventure.

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