Outdoor play is extremely important to children’s development by promoting physical health, providing new learning experiences, and creating opportunities for socialization. Before children can experience these benefits, we have to get them outside first! Read on for tips on how to encourage your child to play outdoors.

Keep yourself upbeat and excited

Your attitude can play a big role in how your child feels about playing outdoors. If you prioritize outdoor time and show enthusiasm and excitement, your child will do the same. Try saying something like, “I can’t wait to play outside with you after breakfast! We will have so much fun together! Let’s think about some things we can do outside”.

Plan activities that require movement

Kids like to move. Kids need to move! Activities that require movement will likely hold their attention much longer than sedentary activities. Plan activities such as flying a kite, playing on the playground, or creating a scavenger hunt!

Encourage unstructured, free play

While it is important to plan activities for your child, it is equally important to allow them time to explore and use their imagination outdoors. Unstructured free play is essential in a child developing their creativity, communication, and cognitive and mobility skills.  Always supervise your child, but let them play uninterrupted. Let them problem solve and let their imagination wander.

Invite friends over to play

Playing with their parents is fun, but children need time playing with kids around their age, too! Playing with other children outside will likely make your kids want to stay outside longer. As always, encourage unstructured play but have a few activities planned that will be interesting to the kids.

Increase outdoor stamina 

Encourage your children to want to be outside by starting out small. You can start out by taking a family walk in the park or around the neighborhood. Playing on the local playground is always a great way to get your kids outdoors! Gradually increase your time spent outdoors and work your way up to bigger outdoor adventures.

Now that you know how to get your kids excited about outdoor play, start brainstorming what activities you will do together! You can decorate the driveway with chalk, plan a nature scavenger hunt, start a backyard garden, or visit your local playground!

Midstates Recreation designs, supplies, and builds community-enhancing recreational play and site structures. Midstates Recreation offers a variety of playground equipment in communities located in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan. Our emphasis is not only to create play and recreation spaces for all but to also provide a truly valuable and inclusive addition to your community! Contact your local sales representative to learn more.

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