The kids are back to school, and back to their usual routines. And, if you’re like most Aussie parents, often this routine involves time spent on mobile phones, iPad, other electronic devices, or in front of the TV – sometimes far too much!
It’s easy to hand your child your phone and have them pass some time while you get some more shut-eye, or switch on the TV so you can prepare their dinner, but getting your kids active outdoors can keep them just as amused while offering many benefits - and it’s not as difficult as it can seem!
Here, mum of two and Apex Camps outdoor recreation centre’s marketing manager, Heidi Ramberg, shares her top tips to get even the most avid digital kids to enjoy playing outside.
Arrange all of your kids’ outdoor games, balls and activities in a way that is appealing and accessible, then bring it to life for them by playing wall ball, setting up an obstacle course or helping them fly that remote control helicopter whenever you can spare a moment. If you need to, invest in a set of bocce, a new fling Frisbee, a giant skipping rope or basketball hoop – there are LOADS of cool and inexpensive things to keep kids amused outdoors! Before you know it, your kids will be initiating their own hit of totem tennis, grabbing their sibling for another game of ball tag around the house or even tending to that veggie garden while you get their lunches ready for the day.
Many parents have set times when their kids may be allowed to watch TV or use their electronic devices, but what about setting a time dedicated to outdoor play? If your kids know that they have half an hour for outdoor play before dinner and being able to plonk in front of the ‘box’, they will likely happily go about finding something outside to do without you even needing to ask them!
Back in our grandparents’ day, making mud cakes in the treehouse, swinging on the tree rope swing, playing hopscotch and marking out a pretend house in the dirt were what kids spent their whole days doing. And it was the most exciting thing in the world! Having access to YouTube and the latest apps doesn’t change this. Reminding kids of all of the options available to them can get them back into good old sensory, imaginary or just good old-fashioned play activities in no time – and maybe even spark warm memories of your own!
Getting into nature and outdoor activities with your kids on the weekends or during the school holidays will open their eyes to the endless number of cool things there are to do outdoors. When was the last time you let your kids jump in the mud, build a raft or swing off a flying fox? Do they know how to light a fire, or to catch a fish? Sunshine Coast offers some fabulous options for outdoor recreation, such as Apex Camps all outdoors school holiday drop-off program, where kids can really be inspired to love the outdoors.
Being active outdoors or in nature produces smarter, happier, healthier, more resilient and more caring kids! Help your kids come up with something new each week, and to plan their week to know what active outdoor play or activities they might want to get involved in. Many of us have somehow given up on the whole idea as something our kids find less attractive than what electronic devices have to offer. But outdoor activities are the things your kids will remember over that favourite app or TV show, and what they are more likely to tell their friends about.